The struggle to meet staff training needs

Schools continue to fail Ofsted inspections due to inadequate training for staff

Ofsted ChecklistOfsted introduced specific e-safety inspection criteria in September 2012. However, 4 years later, some schools are still failing their Ofsted inspections due, in part, to the lack of e-safety and safeguarding training for staff.

What is Ofsted looking for?
In the latest Ofsted guidance for inspectors undertaking inspection under the common inspection framework, it advises inspectors to look for evidence which demonstrates:

“the quality of safeguarding practice, including evidence that staff are aware of the signs that children or learners may be at risk of harm either within the setting or in the family or wider community outside the setting”

In addition, signs of successful safeguarding include:

“There are clear and effective arrangements for staff development and training in respect of the protection and care of children and learners.”

More specifically, when inspecting how effectively leaders and governors create a safeguarding culture in the setting, criteria includes:

“Staff, leaders, governors and supervisory bodies (where appropriate) and volunteers receive appropriate training on safeguarding at induction, that is updated regularly.”

Recent Ofsted comments
In recent Ofsted reports for schools rated 'inadequate', a number had the lack of training for staff cited as a contributing factor, with comments from inspectors including:

"Many teachers are not sufficiently trained to recognise indicators of risk or prepare pupils to stay safe."
"...staff do not have the information and training that enable them to meet the varying needs of the pupils."
"The manager and some staff do not have an up-to-date knowledge of safeguarding issues in order to effectively support children's welfare"

It is no doubt disappointing that these same schools are receiving good (and outstanding) reports for the quality of their teaching practices. However, while the lack of staff training was only one of the reasons why these schools have been rated inadequate, it can't be overlooked.

Your opinion
We would love to know your thoughts on the Ofsted requirements for staff training, the pressure it puts on school resources and how this impacts on the school as a whole. Please use the comments section below.

Written by Safeguarding Essentials on December 12, 2016 09:30

Child online safety – Why isn’t the message getting across in schools?

A reflection on recent statistics from Ofsted on e-safety education

E-safety Ofsted WarningI was thumbing through the TES the other day and I came across the headline ‘Online safety lessons failing to reach more than one-in-four secondary pupils, Ofsted warns’. The article reported on a presentation that Ofsted inspector David Brown had given at a summit on child Internet safety. Mr Brown had presented some research, gathered during inspections at 39 primary and 45 secondary schools.

The information revealed that even though 95 per cent of the schools had online safety policies, students within those schools were not always aware of the existence of these policies and furthermore it found that 27 per cent of the secondary school students could not recall whether they had been taught about online safety during the last 12 months. The research also stated that 28 per cent of secondary students said that they did not have confidence in their teachers’ understanding of online safety – a fact reinforced by teachers who said that they didn’t believe that they had received sufficient training focusing on online safety.

After reading the article I pondered about why there are significant hurdles in getting this serious message across to students. In my own experience as an ICT teacher, there appears to be wide variations in the levels of understanding of the issue and its associated facets, both within student community and more importantly within teachers.

One of the problems I believe is that in some schools, online safety is discussed in ICT lessons, where the teacher may only tackle the techincal issues and side-step the behavioural and emotional espects. Where in other schools, e-safety is handled in PSHCE lessons or during form time by non-technical teachers who, perhaps, lean towards the ‘technophobic’ and have a fear that their lack of understanding will make them appear foolish in front of their students should they start asking them probing more complex questions. This highlights the need for a truely cross-curricular attitude to e-safety education in schools to ensure students can understand the whole picture.

It could also be said that there is a part to play in this for parents/guardians and that is correct, however, sadly in the majority of cases the lack of understanding is also true but with the added problem that some parents appear to acquire their knowledge from emotive and misinformed articles within newspapers or on TV, where the purpose of the piece is to either sell the paper or gain viewing figures and not to offer parents properly researched and explained information.

It is one of the main reasons that I regularly browse sites like as the technological world moves along at a great pace and, unfortunately, new online threats to the well-being of young people appear equally frequently – whether it is the latest online 'fad', ‘sexting’, ‘trolling’ or cyber self-harming. However with the knowledge provided by sites such as this one, teachers and parents can keep informed about the latest online spectre and feel more confident when they are talking about these issues with young people.

Within schools, Internet policies should be student-friendly and one of the best ways to ensure this is to involve students in their design, authoring and promotion. In David Brown’s presentation the research demonstrated that disappointingly, 76 per cent of the primary and secondary schools, within the study, said that students were not involved in the writing of the schools Internet policies. By involving the students, the policy’s importance and relevance to them is raised and they gain a certain ownership of the document.

Finally, it is unfortunate that even in this day and age, in some school settings, the importance of child online safety can suffer from a lacklustre enthusiasm and sadly it is only when an incident occurs involving one of their students (or indeed a member of staff) that it becomes enough of a priority to be taken seriously.

The Internet is a fantastic resource for learning and it is here to stay, but as in real-life, there are those who wish to act illegally and do evil and unpleasant things to others online; however, it is up to the responsible adults such as teachers and parents to bring to the attention of young people the seriousness of online safety but for that to happen those adults must arm themselves with high quality information and understanding.

Ofsted E-safety Statistics

To see the full presentation, click on the image

Share your thoughts on e-safety education in schools using the comments section below

Written by Steve Gresty on July 15, 2015 13:13

The Troll in the classroom

E-safety for schools is about more than safeguarding the pupils

E-safety Teachers BulliedTeachers are facing a growth of incidents of online abuse, including name-calling, personal insults, sexual smears and even threats of violence from both students and their parents.

In the past, the most abuse that teachers could expect was maybe a bit of cheeky back chat, which would be quickly dealt with, with nothing much more than a stern word and a detention and if parents asked the child why he/she had been detained then their reaction would be along the lines of “Good! I hope you learn your lesson and don’t do it again?”

These days, however, there has been a quantum leap in the attitude to teachers by some parents and, digital technology, along with all the positive opportunities it offers, has provided these parents with a sinister outlet to vent their anger when they find out that their ‘pride–and-joy’ has been reprimanded (nearly always wrongly, in their eyes) for some misdemeanour.

Increasingly, teachers are having to endure online abuse from not only students, but their respective parents as well. This growing abuse includes personal insults, accusations of paedophilia or of having sex with students, as well as racist, sexist and homophobic remarks and threats of violence towards teaching staff.

Incidents include a parent informing a teacher on social media that they were “rubbish” and that she was a “bitch” who attempted to kill their daughter by making her do P.E. and not allowing her to use her inhaler – an accusation that the teacher vehemently denied.

Another member of staff, who was heavily pregnant at the time, received vile comments such as “I hope she gets cancer” and “ugly [expletive] bitch”. She also had an abusive Facebook account established in her name. Other teaching staff described how pictures, which have been taken of them in the classroom, without their knowledge were uploaded and then commented on in a flurry of expletive-laden insults.

Now, some may say, “Well, it’s just kids being mischievous; teachers should have a ‘thick skin’ and be used to this sort of behaviour”. But, in reality, as one teacher experienced, who would put up with being sent sexually explicit abusive messages over a prolonged period of nine months? I would hazard a guess, not many!

But surely, don’t teachers report these instances to their senior management team?

Yes, they do but, as the unions report, in an educational world ruled by league tables and Ofsted ratings, schools and head teachers are reluctant to get involved because they don’t want to annoy parents and risk the reputation of their school.

In a survey conducted by the teaching union, the NASUWT, it reported that 60% of 1500 respondents had suffered abusive comments on social media sites by students and parents in comparison to just 21% in 2014. Worryingly, this rise appeared to be entirely attributable to an increase in the number of parents posting abusive remarks.

As a consequence of this problem, coupled with a myriad of other pressing issues within the teaching profession, research in ‘The Independent’ in early April 2015, reported that around 40% of teachers quit within their first year when the harsh realities of life in the classroom become too much.

The issue of the online abuse of teachers is a very real problem that, if not dealt with urgently, will only get worse and potentially contribute to the growing crisis within the teaching profession, but, if it is to have any chance of success, it will require a cohesive plan and the collaboration of stakeholders from education, Government and the social media industry.

If you would like to share your experience on this topic, please use the comments section below.

Written by Steve Gresty on May 14, 2015 11:12

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