Almost a quarter of schools are failing to do enough to keep children safe, according to Ofsted.
By Graeme Paton, Education Editor
12:01AM BST 02 Sep 2011
Some 21 per cent of state schools in England are no better than satisfactory on child safety, the watchdog said, suggesting they must make “considerable improvements” to stop pupils being injured or prevent strangers entering buidings.
Inspectors warned that a further two per cent of schools were judged inadequate when it came to “safeguarding”.
Many of these were failing to complete risk assessments, keep a central record of checks for adults working with children and monitor and review their policies on protecting pupils, it was claimed.
In a report, inspectors said the best schools had “robust” systems in place to keep children safe.
This includes telling children to be “cautious” of any adult entering buildings without an identification badge and the increased used of CCTV cameras around school sites.
But head teachers’ leaders criticised the conclusions, saying schools were being unfairly punished by Ofsted for minor bureaucratic failings.
Brian Lightman, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “They cannot state that 21 per cent of schools were ‘only satisfactory’ and draw the conclusion that this indicates the need for ‘considerable improvement’.
“While everyone would like all schools to be excellent or good, when a school is satisfactory it has reached the appropriate standard in terms of safeguarding.”
Pupil safety is among a number of key issues schools must address to satisfy Oftsed under a new inspection regime drawn up by the Coalition. The other areas are teaching quality, leadership, pupil behaviour and academic achievement.
According to the latest report, safeguarding procedures are “good or outstanding” in 77 per cent of schools.
But in 21 per cent of schools measures were only satisfactory and two per cent of schools were judged to be inadequate.