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IICSA Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

The residential schools Investigation Report

Contents

K.3: Recommendations

The Chair and Panel make the following recommendations, which arise directly from this investigation.

The Department for Education and the Welsh Government should publish their response to these recommendations, including the timetable involved, within six months of the publication of this report.

Recommendation 1: Residential schools

The Department for Education and the Welsh Government should:

  • require all residential special schools to be inspected against the quality standards used to regulate children’s homes in England and care homes in Wales;
  • reintroduce a duty on boarding schools and residential special schools to inform the relevant inspectorate of allegations of child sexual abuse and other serious incidents, with professional or regulatory consequences for breach of this duty; if the recommendation above is implemented, residential special schools will automatically be subject to this duty; and
  • introduce a system of licensing and registration of educational guardians for international students which requires Disclosure and Barring Service and barred list checks to be undertaken.

Recommendation 2: Responding to allegations and concerns

The Department for Education and the Welsh Government should:

  • introduce a set of national standards for local authority designated officers in England and Wales to promote consistency; and
  • clarify in statutory guidance that the local authority designated officer can be contacted for informal advice as well as when a concern or allegation needs to be referred.

Recommendation 3: Governance

The Department for Education and the Welsh Government should:

  • amend the Independent School Standards to include the requirements that there is an effective system of governance, based on three principles of openness to external scrutiny, transparency and honesty within the governance arrangements, and the ability of governors to have difficult conversations both internally and with those providing external scrutiny;
  • amend the Independent School Standards to stipulate that the proprietor cannot be the designated safeguarding lead; and
  • amend the current system of registration of independent schools to apply the same standards to registrants as those applying to open a free school or early years provision.

Recommendation 4: Training and awareness-raising

The Department for Education and the Welsh Government should:

  • set nationally accredited standards and levels of safeguarding training in schools;
  • make the highest level of safeguarding training mandatory for headteachers, designated safeguarding leads in England or designated safeguarding persons in Wales, designated safeguarding governors, or the proprietor or head of the proprietorial body; and
  • undertake an urgent review in order to improve the provision and effectiveness of relationships, sex and health education (RSHE) for children with special educational needs and disabilities, both for children who are in mainstream settings and for those in special schools.

Recommendation 5: Inspection and monitoring

The Department for Education and the Welsh Government should:

  • require schools to inform the relevant inspectorate when they have referred a member of staff to the Disclosure and Barring Service, the Teaching Regulation Agency or the Education Workforce Council; and
  • include in the national standards for local authority designated officers a requirement that local authority designated officers should share information on referrals from schools with the relevant inspectorate (see recommendation 2)

Recommendation 6: Vetting, barring and teacher misconduct

The Department for Education should amend the Teachers’ Disciplinary (England) Regulations 2012 to bring all teaching assistants, learning support staff and cover supervisors within the misconduct jurisdiction of the Teaching Regulation Agency.

The Department for Education and the Welsh Government should amend Keeping Children Safe in Education and Keeping Learners Safe to:

  • provide more detailed guidance as to the quality, nature and degree of supervision required for supervised volunteers working with children in schools; and
  • make clear that Disclosure and Barring Service checks are free of charge for supervised volunteers, and should be obtained wherever practicable.

The Department for Education and the Welsh Government should amend the regulations to provide that inclusion on the children’s barred list automatically disqualifies the individual from being a governor or proprietor of any school.

The Home Office should amend the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 so that proprietors and members of the proprietorial body and governors should be checked against the children’s barred list.

Recommendation 7: Wales

The Welsh Government should:

  • update the Independent School Standards as a matter of urgency;
  • update the national minimum standards for boarding schools as a matter of urgency;
  • legislate so that all residential special schools are judged against the quality standards in place for care homes in Wales;
  • ensure that all teachers and learning support staff in independent schools in Wales are required to register with the Education Workforce Council; and
  • consider extending the duty to report a child at risk of harm in section 130 of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 to independent school staff.
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