Thursday, 27 February 2014

Ofsted and safeguarding

"Procedures for safeguarding pupils are robust; staff and the designated governor are well informed about child protection. Good practice in multi-agency work to support individual pupils is an example of the school's effective partnership work."

Any primary school headteacher would be pleased to have safeguarding at his school described this way in an OFSTED report. The parents will be reassured by such a ringing endorsement of good practice.

There’s just one small problem. Those words were written by OFSTED about Little Heath Primary, the school attended by Daniel Pelka. Less than a year later he was dead, his emaciation, hunger and visible bruises noticed but unreported by the school as child protection concerns. The Serious Case Review, after detailing all the symptoms that were noticed but not passed on, stated the following:

"The system within the school to respond to safeguarding concerns was therefore dysfunctional at this time. The schools own safeguarding and child protection policy does not make it clear what the internal arrangements were for reporting and recording concerns."

This is a very different conclusion from OFSTED’s, albeit with the benefit of hindsight. There is no reason to think that safeguarding suddenly went bad in the intervening period. There was no change of headteacher (who was also the designated teacher for safeguarding) and no change of policy in the intervening time. Given that Daniel died, it is clear that OFSTED missed some shockingly bad practice.

Five minutes’ perusal of the school’s safeguarding policy should have alerted the inspectors. Good practice is very difficult to achieve without clear written procedures, and the procedures were nonexistent.

Ten months after Daniel’s death, OFSTED went back and inspected the school again. This is what they then said:

“The arrangements for the safeguarding of pupils meet requirements. The school carries out the necessary checks on adults to ensure that they are suitable to work with children.”

There was no mention of any lessons learned or changes of procedure that had been made. There was not even any mention of Daniel or his death. From the report there's no evidence that OFSTED invoked its additional procedures for inspecting a school where a serious safeguarding incident has occurred or a child has died, no reason to think that the inspectors were even aware that Daniel had been a pupil at the school.

And no lessons had been learned and no procedures had been changed. The same child protection policy, issued in 2009, was still in use at the time of the second OFSTED inspection. OFSTED missed the bad practice - again.

We can’t even go back and look in detail at what was missed and why. As I understand it, six months after a report is issued, the inspectors’ original notes are destroyed. So nobody, not even OFSTED itself, can see what they actually looked at during the inspection. Effectively, the death of Daniel and the school's safeguarding failures have been expunged from OFSTED's records of the school.

This is just one school which I have chosen to describe in some detail, but it is one example out of many. I have read quite a few other Serious Case Reviews, such as Hillside First School where Nigel Leat abused for 14 years, and Bishop Bell Academy where Jeremy Forrest taught until he abducted a pupil to France. There is a recurring theme of schools having seriously deficient arrangements for recording and reporting child protection concerns, deficiencies missed by OFSTED, sometimes in several successive inspections.

In addition, I have obtained the safeguarding policies for 114 of Coventry’s schools, almost every school in the city. Only about a third contain clearly stated procedures for internal reporting of child protection concerns, passing on those reports to external agencies, and proper record-keeping. By my estimation, about 14% were as bad as Little Heath or worse. I’ve also looked at their most recent OFSTED reports. OFSTED doesn’t have a bad word to say about safeguarding at any of them! This is not a past problem now resolved by improved practice, it appears that OFSTED is even now giving good reports to schools with bad safeguarding arrangements.

The available evidence suggests that OFSTED's threadbare safeguarding inspections do not reliably recognise even appallingly bad safeguarding practice. That is a matter of serious concern to us all. If OFSTED cannot assure good safeguarding in schools, perhaps the job should be given to a separate agency which can.

(This article originally appeared a week ago in CYP Now magazine.)

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Revised Coventry scores

Several headteachers of Coventry schools have been in touch with me since I published my list of safeguarding scores. As as result of revised information they have provided, I am able to revise the scores for some schools as follows.


Ernesford Grange Primary School
6
Formerly 0. Revised on the basis of additional child protection policy provided by headteacher.
Holbrook Primary School
10
Formerly 9. New policy online following correspondence with head teacher.
Holy Family Catholic Primary School
7
Formerly 6. New policy online following correspondence with head teacher.
Potters Green Primary School
7
Formerly 5. New policy provided by headteacher.
 
I would like to congratulate the head teacher of Holbrook Primary School on becoming the third school to achieve a perfect 10 score against the criteria, along with Stivichall Primary and St Thomas More Catholic Primary.

I am in correspondence with other head teachers and hope to receive more updated policies in the near future. I will review them and publish the revised scores for any policies sent to me.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Coventry Schools have contacted me

A number of Coventry schools have contacted me following publication here of the list of safeguarding scores.

Some have asked which points they missed out on and what they need to do to make their policies better. Some have asked me to re-score them on the basis of additional information and/or updated policies they have provided. It is my intention to publish a revised list taking into account new information provided by schools. I will make special mention of any additional schools which score 10 after reviewing the new information.

One recurring theme is that some schools have their safeguarding procedures scattered amongst a number of documents - variously "Safeguarding Policy", "Child Protection Polcy", "Child Protection Procedures" and so on. I think this is very poor practice. For something as vitally important as safeguarding, all the key information should really all be in a single document which can easily be referenced.

In addition, I would recommend that the document is laid out in a logical fashion. With regard to arrangements for reporting abuse, I suggest you organise the document in this order.
  1. Name and briefly describe the categories of abuse that need to be reported.
  2. Describe symptoms or indications that staff should be on the lookout for.
  3. Describe the procedure for reporting a child protection concern to the designated teacher, whether it is an observed physical injury, a disclosure by a child, or some other indication.
  4. Describe the procedure to be followed by the designated teacher on receiving a report from another member of staff.
This way, when a member of staff or a parent first reads through the document, they are taken through the process in the order in which things happen - possible abuse is recognised, it is reported internally, the report is passed on to the authorities. It becomes much easier to remember what to do, and much easier to refer to the policy to check it out when a staff member needs to consult it.

Remember that safeguarding policies in schools need to be operated by people whose primary job is teaching, not social work. Make the layout and language simple and don't load it down with jargon.

Finally, I strongly recommend that your safeguarding policy is put up on the school website so that parents can see and read the policy. When I obtained the policies for the survey, only about a third of schools published their policies online. If you wan the confidence of parents, let them see your new policy and what you are doing to protect their children.

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Sunday Times article on Coventry safeguarding

The complete text of the Sunday Times article Child-protection policies in ‘most Coventry schools inadequate’ has been reproduced on the Campaign for Daniel's Law website.

Coventry Education Department attacks my research


Once  had completed the research, the question was how to get it out into the public domain. I decided to show it to a journalist who has done a number of child protection and safeguarding stories recently, Louise Tickle. She was very enthusiastic about the research and wanted to do an article on it. We discussed how to proceed. I knew that the Daniel Pelka second Serious Case Review was still proceeding, and I thought it was only fair that Coventry Local Safeguarding Children Board and Coventry Education Department should see the data and have a chance both to respond and to incorporate the research into their own report if they wished to. So we agreed that she would provide the research to them and then ask for comments.

When Louise Tickle first disclosed the results to Coventry Education Dept, they attacked the research on several different grounds.

Their first response was to claim that the OFSTED results are good. 90% of schools are graded good or outstanding, and 25% outstanding on "behaviour and safety". However, Ofsted actually grades "safeguarding" separately, so the Education Department conflated two different things. That was a bit naughty of them.

The thing is, they ought to have realised that Ofsted's opinion on safeguarding is not to be relied on. The Serious Case Review said this about safeguarding at Little Heath Primary School, which Daniel Pelka attended at the time he died.
"The system within the school to respond to safeguarding concerns was therefore dysfunctional at this time. The schools own safeguarding and child protection policy does not make it clear what the internal arrangements were for reporting and recording concerns."
Serious Case Reviews tend to use very restrained and unemotional language. To call the school's arrangements "dysfunctional" is some of the strongest wording I have seen in an SCR. I've reviewed the policy Little Heath had in place at the time, and I agree with the SCR analysis. Little Heath scored 2/10 against the criteria I used. Its policy was useless, and it most certainly did not meet condition 5 from my list, concerning the internal reporting arrangements for child protection concerns, nor condition 6 for reporting those concerns to external authorities.
 
But when inspecting Little Heath a year before Daniel died, Ofsted said the following.
"Procedures for safeguarding pupils are robust; staff and the designated governor are well informed about child protection. Good practice in multi-agency work to support individual pupils is an example of the school's effective partnership work."
Within a year of this inspection, Daniel was dead, his emaciation, hunger and visible injuries (including strangulation marks on his neck) were not reported or even formally recorded by the school as child protection concerns. So much for the school's good practice in "multi-agency work to support individual pupils".

Nine months after Daniel died, Ofsted inspected again and said this.
"The arrangements for the safeguarding of pupils meet requirements. The school carries out the necessary checks on adults to ensure that they are suitable to work with children."
No mention was made of Daniel's death. From the report, there is no reason to think that the inspectors were even aware that Daniel had been a pupil of the school when he died. From the evidence of the report, Ofsted did not follow their own procedures for assessing safeguarding at a school which has had a major safeguarding incident or is the subject of a serious case review.
 
Moreover, Ofsted failed to notice that the safeguarding policy in place at Little Heath had not been updated since Daniel's death, the same useless 2009 policy was still in place.
 
Little Heath has since updated its policy. It is still useless, but by virtue of the fact that it has been reviewed within the last year, it now scores 3/10 instead of 2/10.
 
This is a problem not limited to Coventry. The Serious Case Review for Jeremy Forrest was published recently. You will remember that Forrest abducted a pupil to France in September 2012. The SCR was scathing about the safeguarding arrangements at Bishop Bell School, which Forrest taught at and the girl attended. The school again had kept no formal safeguarding records, and when Forrest disappeared with the girl, they retrospectively wrote some child protection forms and backdated them, providing the backdated documents to the review team as if they were contemporaneous records. The review team was highly unimpressed when they twigged what the school had done. The policy in place at Bishop Bell at the time scores 5/10 (the same as the average across Coventry). But Ofsted in its most recent previous inspection graded the school grade 1 "Outstanding" on safeguarding and was positively gushing about the school's safeguarding in the inspection report.
 
So, Ofsted's assessment of safeguarding is, to put it bluntly, grossly unreliable. Schools which had serious safeguarding incidents have frequently been found to have been graded "outstanding" or "good", where the subsequent Serious Case Review has found the school's safeguarding arrangements to be more-or-less nonexistent.
 
The Education Department's next argument was to attack my criteria. They said "Not all of the 10 criteria used by Mr West are statutory requirements (eg state schools are not required to have a designated governor for child protection)."
In fact, none of the criteria are "statutory requirements", because there aren't any statutory requirements. A headteacher can know that a teacher has raped a pupil on school premises, but the head has no statutory obligation to report anything to anybody. But what I suspect they meant was that the criteria aren't in statutory guidance issued by the DfE. In fact, all the criteria are derived from statutory guidance, and the council was factually incorrect on the specific point they raised. The requirement to have a designated governor for child protection is in the statutory guidance Dealing With Allegations Of Abuse Against Teachers And Other Staff, page 3, 3rd bullet. They ought to have known that.

Their next attack was to claim that I had scored schools unfairly poorly against my own criteria. They gave an example that I had scored Woodlands Academy 3/10 whereas their own analysis of the policy scored 9/10 against my criteria. So I agreed to review Woodlands again, and provided a detailed justification for my score.

I originally scored 3/10 (points 1, 3 & 5)

1. The policy names and briefly describes the kinds of abuse that is covered: physical, sexual, emotional and neglect.
Scores on this point - top of page 8, though the description is so brief that it only barely qualifies.

2. The policy describes the signs of abuse that staff should look out for.
There is a short list of items on page 8, but it is quite inadequate and incomplete. For instance none of the physical or behavioural signs of sexual abuse are listed. I scored zero on this point.

3. The school has a named designated teacher for child protection. ("The headteacher" was accepted in lieu of a name, but no other job title)
Named on page 18 and again on page 23. You have to look hard for it! But it's there, so they score in this point.

4. The school also has a named designated governor for child protection. ("The chair of governors" was accepted in lieu of a name, but no other job title)
Item 2.2 on page 5 "we also have a named governor (insert name here) who champions safeguarding within the academy". . The phrase "named governor" is not used anywhere else. None of the other mentions of the word "governor" has a name associated with it. Since no name is given, the point isn't scored

5. The policy instructs all staff to promptly inform the designated teacher of allegations or incidents of abuse, and sets out the procedure for doing this.
Para 6.1 to 6.3 qualifies as a clear procedure., and is supplemented by more detailed information in appendices, including forms to use etc. They score on this one

6. It requires that designated teacher to inform the local authority designated officer promptly of all allegations or incidents of abuse.
Para 6.4 addresses the point, but it has so many things that the designated teacher must "take into account" that it is far from an unambiguous instruction to inform the authorities of all concerns, and para 6.5 makes it clear that a decision is made as to whether to refer. Even for allegations against staff, the head decides (para 6.7) "where appropriate" to refer the matter. This is also way short of a commitment to inform the authorities in all cases, since no guidance is given as to what is "appropriate" and therefore the matter is in effect left to the unfettered discretion of the head. This is not nearly good enough.

7. All conversations informing the local authority designated officer are backed with written confirmation.
Arguably, 6.4.1 makes it clear that referrals are followed up in writing. So even though the school doesn't score on 6, I'd be prepared to revise the point on 7. It's very hard to score on 7 without scoring on 6 as well, but I'll give them this one.

8. The school commits to periodic safeguarding training for all staff, with advanced training for the designated teachers and head teacher.
Para 7 addresses training. There is plenty on all-staff training, but no specific commitment to advanced training for the designated teachers and headteacher, just a general statement that everyone will receive "appropriate" (that word again!) training, without defining what they mean by "appropriate".

9. The policy does not depend on external documents for a description of any reporting procedures to be carried out by the school.
Para 6.6.(allegations against staff) explicitly refers to "Safeguarding children and safer recruitment in education" and the DfE guidance "Dealing with allegations of abuse against teachers and other staff" and says they should be used. No score on this point.

10. The school policy has a revision and publication date, and has been updated within the last 12 months.
The publication date on the cover page is given as 22/3/2012, more than a year old. It is next scheduled for review in the spring term 2014 (also on the cover page)
So, on review I might be prepared to raise the score for Woodlands from 3 to 4, on account of a marginal compliance with point 7. However, there is no way that any reasonable reading of the policy could yield a nine. I'll leave it to you to consider how and why the Education Department might be claiming a nine for this school.
You can check for yourself, the safeguarding policy is available on the Woodlands Academy website. At the time of writing, the version of the school website has the following dates showing in the page header "Reviewed by Q & S Committee on 26/1/2012 and full governors on 22/3/2012". This is the version I have reviewed. At Louise Tickle's request I did a similar detailed justification for a number of other low-scoring schools, the results were all similar.
The other point of the Education Department's response was to say "In October the LSCB, with support from the Local Authority, initiated a detailed city-wide audit and analysis of safeguarding and child protection arrangements in all school  settings."
It is a remarkable coincidence that they chose to initiate this in October, when they undoubtedly  learned in late September that I was making FOI requests to lots of Coventry schools asking for their safeguarding policies. Amy Weir, the LSCB chair, refused Louise Tickle's request for a copy of the reply sent to Edward Timpson (the Minister for Children and Families) stating what would be covered in the second Serious Case Review. If that document were made public, we would be able to tell whether a city-wide survey of safeguarding in schools was originally part of their intended work, or whether this was only added later once they realised that somebody else was already embarking on a survey.
I know what the LSCB review consists of. A questionnaire has been sent out to all schools concerning the school's safeguarding arrangements, and the schools are being invited to fill it out and return it. I've seen the questionnaire. This process is largely useless for the following reasons.

1. Different people are going to be doing the interpretation when filling out the answers - a different person for each school. There will be no consistency in approach in terms of what forms of words qualify as an adequate implementation of the guidance on each point.

2. Those who fill out the form have an interest in making themselves look as good as possible, and so the answers are going to be on the optimistic side. "Should" is almost certainly going to be regarded as acceptable for any required procedure whereas in effect "should" leaves it to people's discretion as to whether they actually will carry out the action described. A reporting procedure for child abuse needs to be saying "shall" or "must" to make it crystal clear what the procedure requires.

3. Those schools which are worst hardly going to be keen to advertise the fact. As a result thoroughly dishonest answers might be made by the worst schools. There seems to be no means by which dishonest or over-optimistic answers will be detected and corrected. Furthermore, there is no compulsion to make a return, so the worst schools might choose not to return the form.

4. The schools, through optimism, self-delusion or possibly even dishonesty, may claim that policies on various specific points exist even though nothing is written down. And quite frankly if the school claims to have unwritten procedures there is nothing anybody can do to prove them wrong. The questionnaire does not make it clear that it is referring solely to written procedures, and does not require that answers are backed by references to specific paragraphs of the school safeguarding policy describing how the requirement is met.

5. Schools outside LA control such as academies, independent schools and free schools may not feel that they have to co-operate with an LA-run audit.

My survey concentrated on schools' written procedures because it is extremely hard to have good practice in place without good written procedures. Without the procedures, staff will not know what to do in the event of them having a child protection concern. The confusion and paralysis that results is clearly described in the Pelka SCR. It is of course possible for a school to have a good written policy and not bother to implement it, but I would argue that a good written policy is a prerequisite for good practice. So if the policy is bad, practice is almost certainly also bad.

As far as I can tell, Louise Tickle and the Sunday Times did a good journalistic job here. They did not simply take my word for it, they asked for justification of my criteria, my methods and my scoring. They put the Coventry Education Department objections to me and then took a view of what the probable truth was. And having run it by their lawyers, the Sunday Times published the article with the headline Child-protection policies in 'most Coventry schools inadequate'.

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Getting hold of the policies and analysing them

At the time I started my survey, about 40% of Coventry's schools had their safeguarding policy available online on the school's website. For the remainder, I had to write to the school and ask for a copy of the policy. Some promptly sent the policy on request, but the request appeared to cause considerable consternation at some of the schools. One headteacher responded to the request as follows.
Dear Mr West

Following advice from the Local Authority could you please let me know in what capacity you are making this request.
I replied. "I am a member of the public compiling a survey of child protection policies. It shouldn't really matter who I am, you are a public body with a statutory obligation under the Freedom of Information Act to make this information available on request, as the advice from the LEA should have made clear."

Another headteacher asked
Hello
Please confirm your child's name & class.
to which I replied "I do not have a child at the school. This is not relevant. I am a member of the public and you are a public body with a statutory obligation under the Freedom of Information Act to make this information available on request. Please note that many schools publish their safeguarding policies on their school website."

In both these cases, the response caused the school to produce the requested policy quite promptly.

Quite a number of schools did not respond to my initial request, and so I repeated the request stating that this should be treated as a formal request under the Freedom of Information Act. I received a number of interesting variations on "The dog ate my homework" as a result. Here is a typical example
Dear sir
Apologies for the delayed response to your email.

We are in the process of setting up a new website, which encountered some technical problems through no fault of our own.  As a result information has been lost, and we have had to start inputting data from scratch.

I will forward the safeguarding policy on my return to work next Monday.
This for a policy whose original was almost certainly on the headteacher's computer. In other cases I received a reply to the effect that the policy was on the school website. It had obviously just been put there, since I know it wasn't there before. I know very well how to do extremely thorough site-specific Google searches.

Somebody else decided that they weren't going to make life easy.
Dear Mr West

I am more than happy to provide you with a copy of our Safeguarding Policy. Please could you me the details of where you would like this posted to and I will ensure it is sent out tomorrow. Please can I also ask what link you have with the school.
I pointed out that since the policy was written on a computer, email was the simplest and cheapest way of sending it to me, and that the DfE itself routinely responds to FOI requests by email. The policy arrived two days later by email, with an accompanying excuse that "The reason for suggesting sending you a copy by post is that this is the usual way in which we respond to requests for policies."

One school actually attempted a flat refusal.
Good Morning Mr West
Thank you for you for your email.

Could you please let us know who you are and why you require the safeguarding/child protection policy?  Have you got children attending our school or is there a child or children you are concerned about? 
To which I replied.
I'm a member of the public compiling a survey of safeguarding policies. It shouldn't really matter who I am or why I want the information, as you are a public body with a statutory obligation under the Freedom of Information Act to make this information available on request.
They replied saying
Dear Mr West
We are presently upgrading our Website, hence the unavailablilty of this policy on line.
We are sorry we are unable to accomodate your request at present.
Time to push it a bit. I replied
Please treat this request as a formal request for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. I wish to receive the following information.

The Safeguarding/Child Protection Policy operated by the [name of school] as of today's date (23rd September 2013).
I have made similar requests of other schools in the past. I am fully aware that I have a statutory right to the information I have requested and that it does not fall under any of the exemptions described in the Act. I suggest that you contact the LEA for confirmation of this.
 No reply. I left it 2 weeks and then wrote again
For the attention of [name deleted], Headteacher.

On September 21 I requested by email a copy of your school's safeguarding/child protection policy. I received a reply from [name deleted] asking for the reason for my request, and then a subsequent reply refusing it. I have not thus far received the document I requested.

Please note that this request is being made under the Freedom of Information Act (2000). Schools are among the public bodies to which the Act applies. You have 20 working days from the date of the request to provide the information. 14 working days have now passed.

I look forward to your early reply.
The policy was coughed up 4 days later.

Once I had all the policies, it was time to analyse them. With 114 policies to look over, this took a number of evenings. The results were quite shocking. Remember that all the criteria are taking from one or other of the government's statutory guidance documents. These criteria form the bare minimum for a working policy which will reliably ensure that serious child protection concerns are reported to the authorities. There is no excuse for any school not to score 10 out of 10.

Of the 114 schools, only 2 scored a full 10. Let me give credit where it is due and congratulate St Thomas More Catholic Primary School and Stivichall Primary School.

The mean score across all 114 schools was just 5. That quite frankly is dreadful. Let me offer a comparison here. I also recently checked the child protection policy that was in force at Bishop Bell School when Jeremy Forrest abducted a pupil to France. The Serious Case Review into Forrest found that the school had made no contemporaneous formal records of the child protection concerns which existed about Forrest and the girl prior to the abduction, and that the school had subsequently created and backdated paperwork. Bishop Bell also scored 5.

Little Heath Primary School is the school that Daniel Pelka attended in the last six months of his life. At the trial of his mother and her partner, various teachers gave evidence not only concerning his low weight and constant hunger, but also of evidence of bruising and other injuries, including what appeared to be strangulation marks on his neck. None of these was reported as a child protection concern, and again no records were kept. Little Heath scored 2.

The headteacher of Little Heath at the time of Daniel's death is now head of Grangehurst Primary School. Grangehurst also scores 2. In fact 16 schools in Coventry score 2 or less. One school scored zero.


Here is the complete list of schools each with their score.


School
Score
Aldermans Green Community Primary School
7
Aldermoor Farm Primary School
8
Alice Stevens School
Did not respond
All Saints Church of England Primary School
5
All Souls Catholic Primary School
6
Allesley Hall Primary School
5
Allesley Primary School
4
Bablake Junior School
6
Bablake School
6
Baginton Fields School
4
Barr's Hill School and Community College
5
Bishop Ullathorne Catholic School
Did not respond
Blue Coat Church of England School and Music College
4
Broad Heath Community Primary School
7
Caludon Castle School
3
Cannon Park Primary School
5
Cardinal Newman Catholic School A Specialist Arts and Community College
4
Cardinal Wiseman Catholic School and Language College
8
Castle Wood Special School
Did not respond
Charter Primary School
4
Christ The King Catholic Primary School
2
Clifford Bridge Primary School
3
Corley Centre
5
Corpus Christi Catholic School
9
Coundon Court
7
Coundon Primary School
2
Courthouse Green Primary School
5
Coventry Muslim School
6
Davenport Lodge School
5
Earlsdon Primary School
1
Eastern Green Junior School
5
Edgewick Community Primary School
2
Ernesford Grange Community School
4
Ernesford Grange Primary School
0
Finham Park School
8
Finham Primary School
8
Focus School - Coventry Campus
6
Foxford School and Community Arts College
7
Frederick Bird Primary School
Did not respond
Good Shepherd Catholic School
2
Gosford Park Primary School
5
Grace Academy Coventry
5
Grange Farm Primary School
2
Grangehurst Primary School
2
Hearsall Community Primary School
3
Henley College Coventry
5
Henley Green Primary
6
Hereward College of Further Education
6
Hill Farm Primary School
7
Holbrook Primary School
9
Hollyfast Primary School
3
Holy Family Catholic Primary School
6
Howes Community Primary School
8
John Gulson Primary School
6
John Shelton Community Primary School
7
Joseph Cash Primary School
9
Keresley Grange Primary School
4
King Henry VIII School
7
Leigh Church of England Primary School
5
Limbrick Wood Primary School
3
Little Heath Primary School
2
Longford Park Primary School
3
Lyng Hall School
9
Manor Park Primary School
8
Moat House Primary School
7
Moseley Primary School              
2
Mount Nod Primary School
6
Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Primary School
6
Park Hill Primary School
6
Parkgate Primary School
8
Pattison College
9
Pearl Hyde Community Primary School
6
Potters Green Primary School
5
President Kennedy School and Community College
5
Radford Primary School
5
Ravensdale Primary School
3
Richard Lee Primary School
2
Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School
5
Sherbourne Fields School
4
Sidney Stringer Academy
6
Sir Frank Whittle Primary School
6
Southfields Primary School
3
Sowe Valley Primary School
2
Spon Gate Primary School
9
St Andrew's Church of England Infant School
5
St Anne's Catholic Primary School
4
St Augustine's Catholic Primary School
4
St Bartholomew's Church of England Primary School
5
St Christopher Primary School
5
St Elizabeth's Catholic Primary School, Foleshill
9
St GReqory's Catholic Primary School
2
St John Fisher Catholic Primary School
4
St John Vianney Catholic Primary School
5
St John's Church of England Primary School
2
St Laurences CofE Primary School
4
St Mary and St Benedict Catholic Primary School
6
St Osburg's Catholic Primary School
3
St Patrick's Catholic Primary School
3
St Peter and Paul Catholic Primary School
6
St Thomas More Catholic Primary School
10
Stanton Bridge Primary School
4
Stivichall Primary School
10
Stoke Heath Primary School
3
Stoke Park School and Community Technology College
5
Stoke Primary School
3
Stretton Church of England Academy
6
Templars Primary School
3
The Westwood Academy
4
Three Spires School
5
Tile Hill Wood School and Language College
4
Tiverton School
5
Walsgrave Church of England Primary School
5
Whitley Abbey Primary School
7
Whitley Academy
3
Whitmore Park Primary School
8
Whoberley Hall Primary School
2
Willenhall Community Primary School
4
Woodlands Academy
3
Wyken Croft Primary School
2
 


I decided also to take a look at the two most recent OFSTED reports for Little Heath, the inspection that occurred a year before Daniel died, and the one which occurred nine months afterwards. The March 2011 inspection said this about safeguarding at the school.
Procedures for safeguarding pupils are robust; staff and the designated governor are well informed about child protection. Good practice in multi-agency work to support individual pupils is an example of the school's effective partnership work.
Less than a year after that inspection, Daniel was dead.

In January 2013, 9 months after Daniel died, OFSTED inspected the school again. This was their opinion of safeguarding.
The arrangements for the safeguarding of pupils meet requirements. The school carries out the necessary checks on adults to ensure that they are suitable to work with children.
The truly shocking thing is that the school's child protection policy for the first inspection hadn't been reviewed since 2009. Moreover it was not reviewed and updated in light of Daniel's death, at the time of the second inspection and during the SCR, the same policy was still in place. And OFSTED didn't notice. Since I picked up the policies for the survey, Little Heath has updated its policy. It now scores 3.

I have looked at the most recent OFSTED report for every school in Coventry. On safeguarding, OFSTED doesn't have a bad word to say about any of them.Either I'm terribly wrong, or OFSTED are. I wouldn't normally cleaim greater expertise on a subject than the professional inspecting body for that subject, but I do have to wonder what on earth is going on here. These policies are with few exceptions pretty dire. But OFSTED grades just about all the schools grade 2 "Good" on safeguarding. Mind you, they graded Bishop Bell School grade 1 "Outstanding" in their last inspection before Jeremy Forrest did his moonlight flit, and this a school that kept no contemporaneous formal records and backdated documents in its evidence to the subsequent Serious Case Review.

I've come across a number of other cases where there have been serious safeguarding failures at schools and OFSTED had seen nothing. Strange though it may seem, as far as safeguarding is concerned, OFSTED shows every sign of not knowing its arse from its elbow.

And that is a serious worry, because if schools that have been graded Outstanding by OFSTED can be as bad as Bishop Bell, and almost all the schools in Coventry can have substandard policies without OFSTED noticing, then the current situation is that we cannot rely on good safeguarding practice existing in any school in the country. I have no reason to think that Coventry's schools are exceptionally bad, so the chances are that the same situation exists across the whole country.


Any of the schools above who read this article, you are welcome to contact me in order to receive an explanation of how I arrived at your score. My interest is in improving safeguarding and protecting children, and I am happy to co-operate with anybody to achieve that end. There is a link with my email address on the right-hand side of this page. But don't complain to me that you have had a good OFSTED, if you have read the entire article you will see why that cuts no ice with me.

In my next article I will describe the process of bring this information to Coventry Education Department and Coventry LSCB prior to an article being published in the Sunday Times.