Saturday, 12 March 2011

ISI Report for St. Augustine's published

The ISI report for St. Augustine's school has now been published on the school website. I see that Mrs Gumley Mason is following the time-honoured tactic of burying bad news in the most inaccessible place she feels she can get away with. It requires that you follow three hyperlinks in succession to get to where the report actually is, and the text announcing the content of the link is really rather small.

Can you easily read this?

7.5pt Georgia is not the most readable typeface in the world, especially with underlining and inadequate paragraph spacing. The link is also not in the location you would expect it to be. Under the title "Inspection Report" in the News menu on the home page you don't find the ISI report at all. The report you find there is Deacon Anthony Clark's gushathon. The only link to the ISI report is in that list of miscellaneous news.

I expect the report also to be published on the ISI website early next week. This delay is routine, the ISI gives a school 2 weeks to distribute the report to parents before it is made available to the general public from its own website.

It's also slightly curious that the report is described as the "latest" ISI report. The school has only recently joined the Independent Schools Council, and so this is the first ISI inspection of the school. Previous inspections were conducted by OFSTED.

Finally, here is a bit from section 5.2 of the report, concerning safe recruitment practices.
Several individuals had started work before their CRB certificates had been received, although these were eventually obtained as required. These individuals were not recorded as having a previous CRB check or List 99 clearance and supervision, and a few other checks were not complete. In a very small number of cases the recorded delay in checking was lengthy.
Unfortunately, the ISI doesn't indicate what it means by "lengthy", whether they mean days, weeks, months or years. This is one of the major shortcomings of the way the ISI writes its reports. They could perfectly well have included something like "The longest delay between stating work and completion of CRB and List 99 checks was x months". But they haven't. You as parents are left blundering around in a fog wondering how long they mean by "lengthy."

Even before CRB checks cam into force 10 years or so ago, the Department for Education maintained what is known as "List 99", a list of people barred from working with children. When a notification is sent by the school to the DfE (or since 2009 to the Independent Safeguarding Authority), if appropriate the person's name is added to List 99. The Times has a good description of how List 99 works, and how and why people are added to it. From my knowledge of ISI reports and those of friends, I think the ISI wouldn't have said "lengthy" unless the delay was at least six months in one or more cases. But I emphasise that is an educated guess, nothing more.

As you can see from the Times article, List 99 has has been in existence for over 80 years, and even before CRB checks came in, it has been necessary for schools to carry out List 99 checks on new staff. So the school doesn't have the excuse of not knowing that the requirements existed. They have been in place for almost as long as the school has existed in Ealing.


  1. I think the position of the report is perfectly in order. It is news after all, and sits aside other "news" from the school including the good 'A' Level results.

    Where the report appears after it is no longer ‘News’ and how this new location juxtaposes with the Clark's gushathon will be interesting though.

  2. The content of this report is worrying. It's as if the ISI is desperate to make its point. So desperate that the same point about safeguarding in hammered home repeatedly.
    Safeguarding cannot be separated from the concerns over leadership, which seems, on any professional level to be all but non-existant. What on earth is an 'informal procedure'? Surely this is pure tautology?
    The responsibility seems to lie very squarely with the headteacher, Gumley Mason, and the ineffectual puppet governors and trustees.
    Just like St Benedict's there would appear to be massive issues with the independence and competence of the trustees and governors.
    Hemingway and Murphy should be held to account. Parents do not pay £10,000 pa for mediocrity and amateurism.

  3. Proverbs 16:18

  4. Given the sugar coated ‘glee club’ nature of Gumley-Mason’s letter to parents of the 28th February I suspect some may not have bothered with the ISI report suspecting it probably “gushed” even more ‘good news.’

    The way the safeguarding revelations at St Augustine’s have been handled by Gumley-Mason and the board demonstrates their collective unsuitability to lead the school. The ISI report continues to be handled in an unforthright way by both. They have been ‘rumbled,’ yet still they mistakenly believe they need say nothing. Their behaviour is indicative of what will happen should another safeguarding issue arise at St Augustine’s. The reputation of the school (and Gumley-Mason) will come first, the child and her parents very distant second and third if they are lucky.

    We are witnessing the collective denial that the genie is out of the bottle. We can all see it and many questions are being asked in light of what is now in the public domain. The subject affects everyone, parents, pupils and staff. Silence demonstrates the contempt in which all are held.

    These circumstances act as a trailer for what could happen next time there is a safeguarding incident. Forget what is written in the policy, Gumley-Mason ignores the law of the land, so a policy document is irrelevant. When incidents happen it’s always behind closed doors. Take the behaviour of the administration now and then ask yourself ‘will they act honestly and reliably, putting the interests of the child first?’

    Keeping an ‘incident’ out of site is aided by the current safeguarding policy.

    o On page 12 it states

    d. The procedures to be followed are shown in Appendices 3& 4 adapted from Ealing Child Protection Policy & Procedures 2007

    Firstly, the ESCB 2007 has been superseded by ESCB 2010 which has been available for many months so why was it not used? Nonetheless when following ESCB guidance (2007 or 2010) it says at

    15.2.1 The employer must inform the local authority designated officer (LADO) immediately an allegation is made.

    By stark contrast the At Augustine’s “adaption” says :
    When deciding whether to make a referral, following an allegation or suspicion of abuse, the Designated teacher will not make her own decision over what appear to be borderline cases, but rather the doubts and concerns should be discussed with the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO). This may be done tentatively and without giving names in the first instance. What appears trivial at first may later be revealed to be much more serious and an allegation of child abuse or neglect may lead to a criminal investigation. Thus the School should not do.....etc. etc.

    The ”adaption” does not commit to report allegations to the LADO who is “independent” of the school, and someone who ensures independent assessment of an incident so that we can all have confidence in the outcome.

    This lack of committment directly contravenes the Ealing Safeguarding Board guidance.

    St Augustine’s referral protocol is not an adaption of Ealing SCB’s guidance – it is completely different and can very easily lead to no referral being made as a result of the weasel words employed around this alleged commitment.

    Please be alert to these matters – they are vitally important for child and parents when an incident occurs, and as the ISI informs us there have been two at this school since the last inspection. As a result of the safeguarding policy operating at that time, combined with the administration wilfully ignoring the law neither were referred to the DCSF or its successor body the Independent Safeguarding Authority. If pupils were involved I hope they received all the support they needed and independent advice which would have happened had the LADO been involved?

    Each of us can arrive at our own conclusion why this was allowed to happen.


  5. It would be worth Gumley Mason reading carefully Section 4.3 of the report and trying herself to live up to the standards of the girls in the school.

  6. If parents send children to a school headed by an egotist, with all the benefits of her personal pride in the place and the drawbacks of her refusals to be accountable, they must take responsibility for the uncertain outcome. It can be fantastic but it can also ruin children's lives. Human nature is that absolute power is blind to its own faults, and justifies itself, whether reinforced collectively in the Benedictine community at St Benedicts when Pearce and others were preying on children, which was undoubtedly known to some other monks, or as at St A's where the consequences of having leadership of the kind we do are not yet known.

  7. The school should change its heading from 'your daughters adventure starts here', to your Daughters nightmare starts here.

  8. I think 10.03 is wrong! Have you been to the school? have children at the school? I am an old girl of the school- where GM was the head. I loved my time at the school, I have great respect for GM and her staff, and unless you have actually been in the school, who are you all to critise it so much!!!

  9. We are the parents of girls whose lives have been effected by the bullying head, we pay the school fees and we have the right to criticise.
    You are probably one of the chosen few maybe an old head girl.
    I have great respect for the teachers a majority of them are wonderful.
    Why have you remained anonymous surely you would like to put your name to your comment praising the almighty G M. Us parents remain anonymous out of fear. Why have you?

  10. Of course we've been to the school and how could we have an opinion on the school if our children don't attend the school? The teachers
    have earned our respect the same can't be said for G M/

  11. 22.16. Name? Helena Gumley-Mason...duh!

  12. Of course looks like it defending mummy dearest.

  13. Comments from 10.03 are so biased, what a ridiculous wishy-washy statement. Do you honestly think Joe Public would be responding to questions raised, I think not! My daughter attends this school and we know Mrs GM, and so do all the other persons who have expressed quite rightly their lack of respect, dislike for this Headmistress. I think the answer to your response is "we as parents have every right to criticize (correct spelling), the failings of GM in her administration". This is not about the teaching staff, they deserve a Sainthood working for that women and we have the up most respect for them.

  14. Just a thought..... if you "hate" the school and the administration as much as some of you profess why don't you get the hell out? There's a long waiting list of girls who would love to receive a great, Catholic-orientated education at this school, and frankly, if you are so upset about your daughter being there, why do you bother?!

  15. Do be quiet your comments are biased and unjustified; it is quite apparent you do not have children! G M should resign and let the children carry on their education with their friends and fantastic teaching staff. Why should we as parents disrupt our children when Mrs Gumley-Mason and her husband should do the right thing and RESIGN post haste. Have you not read all the negative comments regarding these two bullies.

  16. i think you will find 13.27 has children she has two?

  17. Could the previous over zealous, warm comments have come from one of her two children?

  18. Yes I would think the comments came from them or maybe, Mr and Mrs Gumley Masons themselves.