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 email@example.com.
Safeguarding Update Summer 2016
The College has today published the independent report by Penny Jones into its handling of any allegations regarding former teacher and housemaster Jonathan Thomson-Glover during his time at the school.
You will recall that Mr Thomson-Glover was convicted in August 2015 of making, taking and possessing indecent images of pupils at the school and sentenced to three years and nine months in prison. Ms Jones, an independent consultant who was formerly Deputy Director, Independent Education and School Governance at the UK Department for Education, was commissioned by Clifton’s Safeguarding and Welfare Committee (SWC) to undertake a full and thorough investigation into whether concerns were raised about Mr Thomson-Glover prior to his arrest and if so what action was taken, whether the College's current safeguarding policies and procedures are compliant and how the College should act to strengthen its ability to safeguard and protect its pupils in the future.
Before outlining some of the themes in the report and the specific changes we have made, we would first and foremost like to say how deeply sorry the College is for the exploitative and criminal behaviour of Mr Thomson-Glover. The sense of shock and dismay at the fact that so many of our pupils and their families were affected by what he did has not faded in the year that has passed since his conviction.
Whilst the parameters of the report itself were limited to the school’s handling of Jonathan Thomson-Glover, the impact of his arrest and subsequent conviction on how the College approaches safeguarding and compliance has been transformative. In February 2016 the College’s new safeguarding regime was judged as compliant by the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) (see report here) in what the report describes as ‘rapid and decisive action’ taken by the governing body to address the historic shortcomings. Our total commitment to lifting the quality of safeguarding through the school has meant that we have examined every process from a new viewpoint, determined to make the safeguarding of our pupils a paramount concern.
In addition to the appointment of two Designated Safeguarding Leads (DSL), four Deputy Designated Safeguarding Leads, three E-Safety Officers and a cross-College Safeguarding Coordinator, the SWC was established to implement the changes that needed to be made. Its terms of reference were agreed by the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO). The changes it has initiated include (but are not limited to):
- The introduction of CPOMS (Child Protection & Online Monitoring). The system has improved the speed and ease with which safeguarding, welfare and child protection information is recorded and shared. The Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) and deputy DSLs review these regularly, enabling a quick response to any concerns raised.
- New IT systems including new filtering, monitoring and blocking software, as well as an improved, password-protected Wi-Fi connection. This has enabled staff to respond to any inappropriate use by pupils and control access to the network.
- The roll-out of an all-staff Safeguarding and Child Protection training program, with annual updates.
- Improved staff training for those involved with the recruitment process, including Safer Recruitment Training and Safer Interview Skills training by the NSPCC, together with improved background checks, to minimise the risk of recruiting unsuitable individuals to the College.
- A new HR database system which integrates safeguarding training into online personnel records. The system also highlights renewal dates for specific courses and can produce waiting lists of staff with outstanding training requirements.
- The College governance structure has been revised and there have been key changes in members of senior staff. The Compliance and Risk Committee have also introduced a new approach to updating policies, to include better consultation and engagement with staff.
- Regular fortnightly meetings of the DSLs and Deputies to discuss safeguarding concerns, trends and developments, ensuring knowledge and best practice are shared across the school.
- Members of Council have received Safeguarding and Child Protection training, as well as Offender Behaviour Training, to ensure their knowledge of safeguarding is up to date.
- A revised Complaints Procedure and a new central complaints log which is monitored by senior management and Council.
- Revision of a wide range of school College policies including the Alcohol Policy, the E-Safety Policy and the Trips Policy in line with government guidance and KCSIE 2016. The College has also appointed a new Educational Visits Coordinator to oversee the arrangements for trips and ensure they are compliant.
- The DSL has joined the Bristol Safeguarding Children’s Board Education Sub Group to promote the welfare of children and share ideas and best practice between local educational settings. The DSL has a strong working relationship with the LADO through regular contact and consultation; the College is very grateful to the LADO for all her support and advice throughout this period of rapid change.
These changes are in tune with the recommendations in the report, which we welcome and which will in turn lead to further improvements.
The report’s findings highlight how vital these changes have been. It is clear that the shortcomings detailed in the report combined to create an environment which allowed Mr Thomson-Glover to groom not only his victims, but also many adults around him so that he was able to exploit his circumstances in the way he did.
We have chosen to release the full version of Ms Jones’s report rather than just the Executive Summary, as we initially intended. We realised that publishing the full report was not only the right thing to do for those directly affected by the past events that led us to commission it, but also that this was a document that might help other schools to safeguard their own pupils now and in the future. We hope that sharing this full report will enable others to recognise the signs of grooming and the way in which communities can be manipulated by offenders for their own gain. You can access the full report and the executive summary on our website, see link below -
We would like to end by saying that, although the changes we have recently put in place have made a real difference to ensuring the safety of children at the school, the key change has been the way in which staff approach safeguarding with a new, heightened awareness and with a realisation that we will never be able to say that safeguarding is something we have completed. Rather, it is a constantly evolving area - one where the whole College is absolutely determined to continue on the path we have started and so make certain that we do everything in our power to safeguard the pupils in our care.
If you have any queries or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000.
Thank you for your support.
A message from the Chair of the newly established Clifton College Safeguarding and Welfare Committee
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:
2. Reviewing policies and procedures documents
- 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.
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.