Q. We are expecting an Ofsted inspection in the near future. Is safeguarding as important a feature as at the time of our last inspection?

Published: Monday, 10 April 2017

A. While the Ofsted framework changes, the focus on safeguarding has not.

Inspectors still inspect against standards and statutory guidance published by the DfE. If a school fails to meet the requirements then it will receive an inadequate judgement. 

Ofsted has now released a blog update to remind people what the facts are relating to Ofsted inspections and safeguarding and to dispel some of the myths that are circulating. In this blog we are reminded that there is no official template or checklist for schools to comply with and there are no ‘approved’ methods as such. 

Inspectors will be looking for a positive culture and ethos when it comes to safeguarding, and polices that are effectively implemented. You must remember that it is all of your staff who are required to have a good understanding of safeguarding risks. Children should feel safe and be helped themselves to understand what the risks are. 

There have been rumours for many years of inspection teams giving inadequate judgements on the basis of minor safeguarding omissions. The blog points out that inspectors do not ‘make judgements lightly’ and this would only happen in respect of more serious breaches where a school was leaving children at risk of harm. 

Schools should refer to the document Keeping children safe in education: Statutory guidance for schools and colleges as their core guidance.

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