A message from the Chair of the Clifton College Safeguarding and Welfare Committee

A message from the Chair of the Clifton College Safeguarding and Welfare Committee

Dear Parents,

The safeguarding of our pupils is our highest priority. Since our recent inspection, which resulted from the Jonathan Thomson-Glover case, we have had a root and branch review of our culture, policies and procedures. Undertaking this review and writing an Action Plan to address the changes which need to be made has been an important and complex task, given the size of the College, but one we are committed to achieving. We would like to update you on our progress so far and will be providing regular updates on an ongoing basis.  An outline of the plan is given below:

Summary of the Action Plan  

1. Strengthening governance

Clifton College Council is ultimately responsible for safeguarding and pupil welfare. The Clifton College Council has formed the Safeguarding and Welfare Committee to take responsibility for the implementation of the Clifton College Action Plan and to ensure it is delivered effectively. 

The members of this committee are as follows.

Chair:  Mr Nick Tolchard, Old Cliftonian and President of the Old Cliftonian Society.  He has held senior roles in the asset management industry and has a daughter at the College.
Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL):  Mrs Jo Newman, member of the Clifton College Executive, Headmistress of the Pre-Prep with extensive experience in safeguarding and pupil welfare and has a son at the College.
Boarding Welfare Lead:  Mrs Alison Streatfeild-James, barrister, Vice-Chairman of the College and has had 3 children at the College and one still at the College.
The Bursar:  Mrs Louise Hanson, member of the Clifton College Executive with two children at the College.
Independent safeguarding professional:  Teresa Hughes, of Girling Hughes Ltd.  Teresa is a former detective with extensive experience of safeguarding and child protection with particular expertise in e-safety.
It is also our intention to enhance further our safeguarding expertise within this group and across the College over the coming months. We believe that significant progress has already been achieved during the course of the Michaelmas Term in the following areas:

The committee has set up additional measures to monitor, co-ordinate and control all safeguarding and welfare procedures and reporting:
  • Upper School Pastoral Planning Committee (Chair:  Miss Alex Tebay);
  • Preparatory School Pastoral Planning Committee (Chair: Mr David Pafford);
  • Bi-weekly College Safeguarding Meeting (Chair: Mrs Jo Newman).
The Committee has also overseen the introduction of new software to facilitate oversight of all staff training and to maintain a simple central register of pupil safeguarding and welfare concerns:
  • iTrent is a computer software package that has been rolled out across the College and maintains a central register of every member of staff and their training.
  • Child Protection Online Monitoring System (CPOMS) has been rolled out to all staff and gives a secure and centralised on-line system for reporting concerns directly to the Designated Safeguarding Lead.
2. Reviewing policies and procedures documents

The College’s policies, procedures and summary documents have been reviewed and updated in line with statutory guidance, ISI regulatory requirements, Local Authority requirements and best practice.  The key policies and government guidance documents include (click on the link for full details):
3. Refreshing Staff Training

All members of staff are renewing Initial Safeguarding Children training. Training will be updated regularly, in line with Bristol Safeguarding Children Board requirements.
  • The Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) has completed a number of training courses, including Safeguarding Children in Education, The Role of the DSL.  The training was led by Bristol Safeguarding Children’s Board (BSCB).
  • The DSL and Deputy DSLs have completed Advanced Inter-agency Child Protection Training led by BSCB.
  • All members of the College’s Executive, Senior Management Team, House Staff and Head of Human Resources have completed Offender Behaviour Training, delivered by Girling Hughes.
  • Members of the Executive and recruiting Heads of Departments are trained in Safer Recruitment.
  • All Council members are being trained in Safeguarding and Child Protection.
  • All staff have completed the College of Policing Channel General Awareness Module.
  • All new staff receive induction safeguarding training, delivered by the DSL or Deputy DSL.  This includes all vetted volunteers.

4. Reviewing site security and pupil safety:
  • A poster campaign has been introduced to highlight the availability of support systems for the pupils: school counsellors, tutors, DSL and Deputy DSLs and Childline.
  • E-safety has been enhanced with the appointment of members of staff to act as E Safety Leads.
  • All staff are subject to a best practice list of appropriate vetting checks prior to and during employment to ensure compliance with all relevant legislation and their details are recorded on a single central register which details background checks for all staff.
  • On-site security has been enhanced with the adoption of new visitor protocols.  There has also been a site security audit and action is being taken to improve on-site security.  Improvements include visitor lanyards which are a different colour and clearly distinct from the blue staff lanyards; on-site security patrols and security improvements to the perimeter of the Preparatory School.
I would like to take this opportunity to express our thanks for the tremendous amount of hard work undertaken and commitment shown by the staff as we seek to become a beacon of excellence in Safeguarding. 

The Jonathan Thomson-Glover case was profoundly disturbing for the College community. The Safeguarding and Welfare Committee have commissioned an independent investigation into the College’s handling of any allegations made about the former teacher and day housemaster. This investigation has now started and is being carried out by Penny Jones, an independent consultant, formerly Deputy Director, Independent Education and School Governance at the UK Department for Education. It is an opportunity for all those affected by the recent case to have their voice heard.  An executive summary of the findings will be published following the conclusion of the investigation.

If you have any comments or queries regarding the actions the College is taking, please email safeguarding@cliftoncollege.com.
Yours faithfully,

Nick Tolchard
Chair, Safeguarding and Welfare Committee,
Clifton College Council