- No evidence of references for 2 members of staff
- References received after appointment for 2 members of staff
- Qualifications, employment history and references dated five years before appointment
for 1 member of staff
- No evidence of employment history or references for 4 members of staff
- No evidence for qualifications being checked for 2 members of staff
- No date of CRB/List 99 check recorded for 5 members of staff
- No date recorded for the CRB check for 2 members of staff
- No date recorded for the separate List 99 check required when the CRB check is not received until after the employee has started work, for 3 members of staff
- No date or name of checker recorded for overseas checks undertaken for 1 member of staff
- CRB received after appointment, no record of separate List 99 check or appropriate
supervision for 10 members of staff.
There have been multiple failures to check some members of staff, but in total the ISI found shortcomings in the checks and records for 18 different members of staff.
CRB checks, List 99 checks, and checking of employment history and references is really basic stuff. This is the first line of defence against abusers getting onto the staff. If somebody has been recorded to be unfit to supervise children, then these checks, properly carried out, will prevent a potential abuser from being employed in the first place.
According to latest calendar there are 54 teaching and 24 non-teaching staff at St. Augustine's, 18 is quite a significant proportion of that total, nearly a quarter of all the staff. Quite enough for the ISI to amply justify its conclusion that this is more than a minor administrative slipup but is instead a persistent weakness in the school's processes, and therefore to state in the report that the school's "procedures for making and recording appointments have not been sufficiently rigorous".
In addition, the seven Trustees of the charitable company which owns the school are legally the proprietors of the school, and should therefore also have been included on the Central Register of Appointments and been subject to CRB checks. They were not.
The register still hadn't been brought fully up to date by the time the ISI made its second visit. And the school complained about the ISI's conclusions, and took court action to suppress the report and keep the extent of the failings from the parents.
Of course, all abusers abuse for the first time somewhere, and CRB checks won't catch somebody who hasn't been found out before, which is why there has to be a second line of defence in the form of good safeguarding procedures and proper reporting mechanisms. But the process designed to keep known abusers away, the first line of defence for the school, basically leaked like a sieve.
If the issue had been that all the proper checks had been made but the dates and other details not fully recorded on the central register of appointments, this might have been regarded as more of an administrative matter. But it seems that 10 staff were permitted to supervise children when neither their CRB nor their List 99 checks had been received, and that situation persisted in one case for 2 years. This is outrageous. It is also illegal, and it persisted for years with nobody among the governors or trustees noticing.
As headteacher and designated teacher for safeguarding, carrying out these checks is the personal responsibility of Mrs Gumley Mason.