Are you making these ten safeguarding mistakes that Ofsted spot straightaway?



Tighten your safeguarding procedures using this Workbook!

I hope you found the video useful, but what next?

The video has outlined the inadequate judgements and the accompanying workbook will help you put this issues right.

I reviewed 200 Ofsted reports and found the inadequate Safeguarding judgements.

In this workbook, you’ll discover the judgements, see what you can learn from them and find out how to put them right using a quick checklist.

This workbook will give you confidence, keep children safer and avoid inadequate judgements.

You can buy your copy of ‘Ten Safeguarding Mistakes’ by clicking the button below:

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Are you making these ten safeguarding mistakes that Ofsted inspectors will spot straight away?

I recently reviewed 200 Ofsted reports and looked at some of the inadequate judgements that are being made about safeguarding in a variety of schools and in the accompanying workbook we can start to think about putting them right.

In the first place, when you’re assessing your school’s effectiveness in safeguarding, what you need to make sure is that you’ve got some idea about what’s going on.  Safeguarding is like any other curriculum topic or area in the school. How do you know whether your safeguarding is great, not so great, or poor, and may even be putting children at risk.

First of all you need to find the evidence, to check and look at all the different aspects of safeguarding and child protection. You need to look at the impact: Is what we’re doing of any value to the children and young people? The first part of this is very much making sure that people in your school, people in your organization are safe to work with children and young people, and that you’ve done all the necessary vetting checks.

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Single Central Record

The Single Central Record is a crucial record of all the vetting checks that have been made, and it must be compliant. It doesn’t meet the latest statutory guidance, and more importantly, it must be sampled and checked on a regular basis to make sure that it’s accurate. In your school, you need to be looking at this. Someone other than the person who is responsible needs to have a look at the SCR at least once a term, if not more regularly, and to record that you have made that check, and you’ve identified any issues that are being raised.

The Single Central Record must have a column where you can record that the Prohibition from teaching checks have been made. In my reviews around the country I have found that this isn’t something that’s always being done; and I’ve spoken to Ofsted inspectors who tell me the same.

Although the check is supposed to have been there since 2013, it’s not being done everywhere. You can find out how to do this by going to the employment access online service, or as it’s now known, the teacher services. You can check whether the teacher that you’re about to employ has been prohibited from teaching or not, and check out some other background checks too. (Incidentally you can check your own record there too).

Your recruitment checks should always involve asking for references. If you aren’t asking routinely for references, you aren’t checking out with enough detail and this does let people through that otherwise, wouldn’t be employed in a school.

Don’t just have one person who’s responsible for the Single Central Record. If you do and somebody goes off sick or somebody leaves the organisation, you won’t have enough experts in the organisation to quickly slot in and put this right.

One of the inadequate Ofsted judgements says, “Staff involved in recruitment are appropriately trained but they’re not using the information that they were given on that training”. Although school staff have had safeguarding training, it hasn’t helped them to identify issues or lead to a consistent approach across the staff team, so it’s no good sitting in that training if it then doesn’t have an impact on the children and young people that you’re looking after. Staff must be consistent. There can’t be a ‘post code lottery’ across the school, depending on which staff they’re being taught by or who the form tutor is.

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Identify Risks

School must carefully identify the risks to young people in their school. This is crucial because if you don’t know what the dangers are out there or in your school, then you can’t help either staff deal with them, and more importantly, you can’t help young people deal with these risks. Staff should sit down at least once a year and make a list of all the different risks that affect their young people in the area. The risks will be different all over the country, but make sure you know what those risks are.

The safeguarding policy should be the gold standard to which you’re aiming in your school. The policy should help people actually put safeguarding into practice on a day to day basis. One quote that stood out clearly in the research I did was, “The school’s safeguarding policy isn’t fit for purpose. It doesn’t make clear the procedures that should be used in order to keep staff, pupils and learners safe. A large number of staff are unclear about what to do.”


Governors are a really important aspect of school leadership and management, but the inadequate judgments often noted that “Governors have not had sufficient training about their safeguarding role, and so can’t carry out this role in monitoring the effectiveness of the school’s safeguarding work. Occasionally, you see governors have ratified a policy with out of date information in it.” Governors need to know what’s up to date in order to be able to spot discrepancies in safeguarding policies and in other aspects of the work of the school.

The school site needs to be secure. People ask me quite a lot about lock down procedures, but my answer really is that you need to make sure that your perimeter, your reception is really secure, so that people can’t just inadvertently or deliberately come onto your site without you knowing. The “Keeping Children Safe in Education” document that was published in 2014, and revised in 2015, really helps schools deliver on keeping children safe if they take on the advice that’s given there.

Physical Intervention

For schools where physical intervention is used: special schools, difficult schools, schools for young people with challenging behaviour, it is important to avoid some of the calamities and issues from the past where children weren’t being physically intervened appropriately. Restraint was sometimes used very inappropriately, even sometimes as a form of punishment, so it’s really important that children have a voice in that process. Each time a pupil is involved in such an incident, they must be given an opportunity to debrief and have their views recorded about the event. Of course, it might not be the right time immediately after the event. This might be the next day or even the day after, but there must be a process in place by which young people can have their voice heard around physical intervention as a protection from it being used inappropriately, incorrectly, or even illegally. Senior manager must regularly review these intervention records, look for trends and implement changes to reduce interventions or improve systems.

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