Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Since Carlile isn't reporting for now...

Since Lord Carlile's report and its recommendations aren't going to see the light of day for a good long time yet, I think it would be a good idea to have a think about what his recommendations ought to be. I made some suggestions to Lord Carlile as to what recommendations should be in his report. Since we won't know for months yet whether he has accepted them, I'm going put them here instead.

Although these recommendations are directed at St. Benedict's, the procedural failings in safeguarding at St. Augustine's are very similar, so parents of children at both schools might be interested.

Here is the first recommendation

The Child Protection Policy for the school shall be replaced entirely with one based on a model policy implementing best practice and complying fully with the recommendations of the London Safeguarding Children Board.

There are safeguarding experts around who could help produce such a policy. I provided Lord Carlile with suggestions as to suitable sources of knowledge and expertise. Unless there is a clear written policy that describes an effective safeguarding regime, no other improvements are remotely likely to happen.

One key point of any safeguarding policy is that it must clearly state that all allegations or incidents of abuse must immediately be reported to the Local Authority Designated Officer for Child Protection (LADO). It is the LADO's decision, not the school's, as to whether an allegation merits a formal investigation or even a referral to the police for a possible criminal investigation. If you see any wriggle room on referring allegations to the LADO, any at all, then the chances are both that the policy is seriously defective in other ways and the mindset of those writing it is concerned more with protection of the reputation of the school and the teachers rather than ensuring the welfare of the pupils.

The school's published policy is still the inadequate one published in Septamber 2010. The school shouldn't need to wait on Lord Carlile in order to be getting on with this.

This recommendation is easy and blindingly obvious. That isn’t to say that a well-written safeguarding policy is all that is needed. This is a first step. Other measures are also required. I'll come to those in future articles.


  1. I would be surprised if Lord Carlile does not say anything about the composition both of the Board of Governors (all Monks of Ealing under the Abbot) and the Abbot's Advisory Group.

    The School needs independent Governors - perhaps even non-Catholic Governors. Now the school (very regrettably) has admitted girls to the III Form there should be women on the Board of Governors as well.

    If a couple of parents were Governors as well that would help to balance the Board.

    It would be helpful to clear the air if all of the Community at Ealing (apart from Fr David) make full and frank admissions of any wrong-doing towards boys at the school or in the Parish. After the trial of Fr David and Maestri in July, whatever transpires in evidence, the whole community around St B's needs to be reassured that there are no lurking skeletons. Or will there be more criminal investigations every couple of years?

    I wonder what the Holy Patriarch St Benedict would say if he visited Ealing today - would he even recognise them as his sons?

    Perhaps as he says in the Rule (Chapter 49)

    "Although the life of a monk
    ought to have about it at all times
    the character of a Lenten observance,
    .. few have the virtue for that.."

  2. The parent forum this week said their safeguarding policy will be held up as a flagship for others and that there is no one there anymore who is unsafe

  3. Mrs GM was arrogant and her self appointed governing body did not help.She used her own rules as she went along,no criteria about matters such as bursaries.The excellent teaching staff dererve our respect for the job they do and the intimidation that surrounds them.