A message from the Clifton College Safeguarding and Welfare Committee
Safeguarding Update Michaelmas Term 2016
As part of our ongoing commitment to improving safeguarding practices at Clifton College, we would like to take the time to provide you with an update of the work we have been undertaking this term, and share with you specific matters of interest and importance in this integral area.
Safeguarding Departmental Structure
We are very pleased to announce a number of structural changes within our safeguarding department – Firstly, we are delighted to welcome Mr Ed Swanwick to the College. Ed joined Clifton as the new Upper School Pastoral Deputy Head at the beginning of the Michaelmas Term from Abingdon School. He has taken responsibility as the new Upper School Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) and is supported in this role by two new Deputy DSLs; Mr Noel Doran (Upper School Teacher of Learning Support, E-Safety Coordinator and House Master of Watson’s House), and Mrs Vanessa Walsh (Upper School Assistant Head - Teaching and Learning). Ed has also joined the College’s Safeguarding and Welfare Committee, which monitors, co-ordinates and controls all safeguarding and welfare processes at the school.
Mrs Jo Newman (Head Mistress of the Pre-Prep) is continuing in her role as the Designated Safeguarding Lead for the Preparatory School and will be assisted by Mr David Pafford (Pastoral Deputy Head of the Prep School) and Mrs Rachel Griffiths (Deputy Head of the Pre-Prep) as her Deputies.
In addition to this, the team have recruited a Safeguarding Coordinator Miss Liz Lovelock, whose role is to assist the team with the delivery of Safeguarding services across the 2 schools of Clifton College.
The safeguarding team meet frequently to share knowledge and ideas, as well as to discuss any concerns they may have about pupil welfare.
At the beginning of the Michaelmas term, College staff were provided with 3 hours of Safeguarding and Child Protection inset training. The training explored thresholds for intervention, looked at the signs and symptoms of the 4 main categories of abuse and examined legal frameworks, national guidance and local procedures. The training was in line with the new Keeping Children Safe in Education guidelines, which all staff must have an awareness of. The new guidelines came into force in September 2016 and can be found here: -
The Safeguarding team have also been busy improving their own knowledge: The DSLs attended the Child Protection in Education 2016 conference run by Optimus Education, to look in depth at various different areas of safeguarding and child protection, including Mental Health, E-Safety and Information Sharing. The new Deputy DSLs have both attended Inter-Agency Safeguarding Training provided by the Bristol Safeguarding Children’s Board (BSCB). Other training for the team has included a locally run course highlighting the risks and concerns associated with the radicalisation of children and young people, as well as specialist training on Neglect and how to recognise signs and symptoms of those who are, or may be, neglected. The NSPCC also visited the College to provide Safer Interview Skills Training for staff involved with the recruitment process; teaching attendees to assess aspects of a candidate's character, such as values, attitudes, beliefs and behaviours, which are difficult to test - but essential for effectively working within a child focused organisation.
Jo Newman continues to represent independent schools through her work with the BSCB’s Education Sub-Group, whose aim is to strengthen arrangements for keeping children and young people safe in Bristol. Jo has also introduced Ed to the Independent School’s DSL Network, where staff from local independent schools share ideas, knowledge and best practice.
The College also continue to work closely with external safeguarding specialist Teresa Hughes. Teresa is a former detective with extensive knowledge and experience of Safeguarding and Child Protection, with particular expertise in E-Safety. This term she has provided talks to parents and pupils regarding the importance of E-Safety and the associated risks. Further talks are planned for the Lent term, of which dates will be disseminated accordingly.
The College are very pleased to report that we have recruited a counsellor to work specifically with pupils in the Preparatory School. We will also be working next year with MHFA England (Mental Health First Aid), to train key staff in learning how to identify, understand and help a child or young person who may be developing a mental health problem.
Clifton College and Freckles
Finally, the College have been working in partnership with Freckles Child Care and are playing host to a number of Emotional Wellbeing Talks over the coming months. With a suspected one in six children suffering from a mental health problem in 2016, it is an area of great concern and importance.
Two talks have been run so far this year, one by Mr Dick Moore on Adolescent Mental Health and another by Dr Maryhan Baker on Identifying Anxiety in Children.
The talks have been hugely informative and very well received by those who have attended. For more information on upcoming events and details of tickets, please see their website here: Freckles Child Care.
As always, we thank you for your continued support. If you have any comments, feedback, queries or concerns that you would like to share with us regarding safeguarding matters, please do not hesitate to get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Safeguarding update Michaelmas 2016
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, President of the Old Cliftonian Society and Vice Chair of College. He has held senior roles in the asset management industry and has 3 daughters at the College.
- Preparatory School Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL): Mrs Jo Newman, member of the Clifton College Executive and Headmistress of the Pre-Prep, with extensive experience in safeguarding and pupil welfare. She has a son at the College.
- Boarding Welfare Lead: Mrs Alison Streatfeild-James, barrister, Chairman of the College. She has had 3 children at the College and 1 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.
- Upper School Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL): Mr Ed Swanwick, Upper School Pastoral Deputy Head, with considerable knowledge and experience in pastoral welfare and safeguarding. He has a daughter at the College.
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):
- Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy
- Keeping Children Safe in Education (2016)
- Keeping Children Safe in Education (Part 1)
- Code of Conduct for Staff
- Whistleblowing Policy
- Guidance for Safer Working Practice (The Safer Recruitment Consortium Oct 2015)
- The Prevent Duty (DfE 2015)
- Complaints Procedure
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.