School governors will be given more training after paedophile scandal
‘EXCEPTIONAL’ steps have been taken to safeguard children in the wake of the Hillside First School paedophile horror.
Following the results of a serious case review at the Worle site earlier this year, it was revealed that children were failed by governors at the school, as well as education watchdog Ofsted.
The review was carried out after teacher Nigel Leat was arrested and subsequently jailed for a catalogue of sexual abuse over more than a decade relating to students in his care.
Following the review governors across North Somerset have been asked to undertake further training.
Despite the serious case review, carried out by an independent board, showing there was a ‘lamentable failure’ to provide good safeguarding practises at the Church Road site, three Ofsted inspections during the review period failed to pick up on any problems.
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So Ofsted has also agreed a copy of the board’s recommendations should be read by every headteacher and chair of governors in the country following a request from North Somerset Safeguarding Children Board (NSSCB) board chairman Tony Oliver.
He recommended the ‘impartial’ Government body takes steps to encourage parents to remain alert and responsive to possible risks to their children.
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The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Children and Families, Tim Loughton, has asked for the review to be brought to the attention of all local safeguarding children’s boards to consider the implications for schools in their areas.
Mr Oliver said: “We can’t offer a carte blanche guarantee that this type of thing won’t happen again, but we can help avoid it.
“This is a real flag for North Somerset that this report has been taken on like this nationally.
“It is exceptional and unprecedented.”
Ofsted told the NSSCB it is unable to provide the evidence on which the judgements at Hillside were based because it does not keep the records for longer than six months.
It pointed out that the way in which inspections are carried out has since changed.
In December 2010, the Mercury broke news of the arrest of Leat on a string of child abuse charges.
In June last year a judge at Bristol Crown Court ordered him to face an indefinite jail sentence for multiple charges of seriously sexually abusing pupils in his care and filming the horrifying incidents at the Church Road school.