Under regulatory requirements and statutory guidance we are required to make two specific and overarching judgements in relation to safeguarding.
This involves reporting whether a school meets paragraphs 7(a) and (b) of the Independent School Standards:
(a) arrangements are made to safeguard and promote the welfare of pupils at the school; and
(b) such arrangements have regard to any guidance issued by the Secretary of State.”
The “guidance issued by the Secretary of State” refers to Keeping Children Safe in Education and Working Together to Safeguard Children.
Ascertaining whether schools have regard to this guidance is fundamental to the inspection of safeguarding.
Other advice from the government to schools about particular safeguarding issues is taken into account on inspection but is advisory only unless underpinned by law.
We are also required to report on whether a school meets requirements relating to the:
- spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of pupils
- welfare, health and safety of pupils, including matters such as bullying, behaviour and risk assessment
- suitability of staff, supply staff, and proprietors
- premises of and accommodation at schools
- quality of leadership in and management of schools
The above standards are all integral to a school’s safeguarding arrangements.
Boarding schools have additional standards, as set out in the National Minimum Standards (NMS) for Boarding Schools (see NMS 3,4,6,11-15).
Early years provision also has additional standards, as set out in the Early Years Foundation Stage Statutory Framework (see section 3).
Though our reports do not contain an overall judgement on the school’s culture, understanding the institutional culture is an essential part of the inspection of safeguarding.
In line with Working Together to Safeguard Children, inspectors will assess whether schools “have in place arrangements that reflect the importance of safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children … including:
- a culture of listening to children and taking account of their wishes and feelings, both in individual decisions and the development of services.
-…a culture that enables issues about safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children to be addressed
- creating a culture of safety, equality and protection within the services they provide."