Recommended actionAn "enhanced emphasis". Nice way of putting it. In other words, make some passing attempt at keeping the children safe from abusers.
In view of the previous incidents, it is recommended that an enhanced emphasis is placed on safeguarding and that the following precautionary action is taken where possible.
1. Ensure that any staff or members of the religious community live away from the school, if they are subject to allegations of misconduct related to safeguarding or convicted of wrongdoing.The ISI has had to tell the school to remove staff and monks suspected of abuse from the premises! It is extraordinary that a school needs to be told this.
It will be interesting to find out whether this has been done with respect to Hobbs and Chillman.
2. Follow the advice given to render the safeguarding policy a model of excellence in its wording, implementation and review.Unfortunately, as it stands this recommendation is totally useless, because we don't know what advice has been given! So parents will have no way of knowing whether or when this is done. If the school is serious about improving safeguarding, they should be prepared to publish the correspondence from the ISI which contains this advice.
3. Ensure that referrals are always made to the Independent Safeguarding Authority when appropriate. For historical cases, ensure that all relevant information is passed to the Independent Safeguarding Authority.And this shows how weak-willed the ISI is. Rather than recommend that the school be prosecuted for breaking the law, it is just asking the school retrospectively to put its paperwork in order.
The ISI isn't saying how far back the school must go in respect of "historical cases". One year, two years, 30 years? We don't know. In the absence of a specific timescale, the school is almost certainly going to be very tempted to interpret this recommendation in the narrowest possible way. Remember, the school's failings in this respect (for instance in the case of Father David Pearce) have led directly to additional pupils of the school being abused. This is not a mere administrative matter of inadequate record-keeping. This has wrecked pupils' lives.
4. Give greater emphasis to safeguarding in the school personal, social, health and citizenship (PSHCE) programme and reflect this in the school improvement plan.There is no evidence that this has yet been done, nor any indication as to how (or if) the ISI will enforce this.
As far as I’m aware, the School Improvement Plan is not published, so again parents cannot enforce this because they can't tell what the targets are and whether they are being met.
5. Emphasise awareness raising and training in safeguarding across the whole community of school, Abbey and parish, with formal contact between the child protection officers.There is no evidence that this has yet been done, nor any indication as to how (or if) the ISI will enforce this. On the matter of Parish safeguarding, it appears that no lessons have been learned. The safeguarding page of the Ealing Abbey parish website has a statement on safeguarding which contains no procedures, it is merely a statement of good intentions. The page also contains a reference and link to the CSAS model procedures, but doesn't say that those procedures are actually being followed in the parish.
For the CSAS procedures to be followed effectively, far more is needed than a mere link to the CSAS website. Actual written procedures need to be developed that are specific to the abbey and the parish, and for them to be published and regularly reviewed. Names of individuals need to be given, with details of who is responsible for what.
This was touched on in the Diocesan review published earlier this year. Curiously, the Diocesan review addressed procedures in the Abbey (but not the school), and yet the sumary of the review is only available on the Information for Parents page of the school website! One does get the overwhelming feeling that the Abbot is looking to do as little as possible about all this and hope that all the bad publicity eventually blows over. He shows no sign of any interest in actually doing the right thing and getting child protection working properly.
Se let's summarize. The ISI is recommending a variety of measures which could make a real improvement in the quality of safeguarding. However, they have not stated how they propose to ensure that these measures are actually put into effect by the school, and they have not provided enough information about the recommendations to enable parents to check this for themselves.