we will take into account any recommendations Lord Carlile makes to strengthen our policies and procedures.But by the following day, his media statement said this:
The [Carlile] report will recommend how the school can implement exemplary child protection policies for the future and will move to adopt those recommendations immediately.The emphasis in both cases is mine. There is a significant difference between the two statements. The first commits the school to absolutely nothing at all. They could take Carlile's recommendations into account and then having done so decide not to do anything. But the second is a commitment to adopt Carlile's recommendations immediately.
In the weeks that come, we shall see which version of Cleugh's statement is nearer to the truth, we shall see what the Carlile report contains, and whether the school is going to implement its recommendations immediately.
There is however one aspect of the second statement which gives rise for concern. In it, Cleugh states
we have strengthened our safeguarding proceduresI shall be detailing the latest version of the school's child protection policy in future articles, but for now I'll make just one point. In the version published on 22 September 2010, there was a long appendix describing the procedures to be followed in the event of an allegation against a member of staff. That appendix is missing from the current version brought into effect September this year. This is a strengthening?
Understandably, Mr Cleugh would like to consign the problems to the past, and assure us all that this is purely historical and of no relevance to the school today. But I'm afraid that won't wash.
- Father David Pearce's restricted ministry was set up while Cleugh was headmaster, and Cleugh clearly thought that was sufficient, or at least didn't question it publicly.
- The ISI Supplementary report found that the central register of appointments (used to record the CRB and other background checks on all staff) was incomplete. This is Mr. Cleugh's direct responsibility.
- The ISI Supplementary report also found that the school's safeguarding policy did not meet regulatory requirements. This is also Mr Cleugh's direct responsibility.
I pointed out shortcomings in the school's child protection policies two years ago. At the time, I got the brush-off from Mr. Cleugh. He could have saved himself an awful lot of trouble by listening to me at the time.
I would much have preferred that the children of the school could have been made safe two years ago by effective changes taken then. It would have saved a great deal of trouble all round.