Ofsted rejects concerns over ‘rigour and thoroughness’ of Benwick Primary School’s approach to employing staff

Benwick Primary School.

Benwick Primary School. - Credit: Archant

Ofsted has rejected claims that Benwick Primary School failed to carry out checks that are required by law when employing staff.

Inspector Wendey Varney visited the school and reviewed its safeguarding measures in November following a qualifying complaint concerning the “rigour and thoroughness” of the school’s approach to employing staff.

However, the complaint was rejected by Ms Varney, who said the school’s approach was both “rigorous and robust” and all statutory requirements had been met in a letter to headteacher, Jackie North.

She said: “I scrutinised the school’s single central record of checks on the suitability of staff to work with children. I looked at personnel files and a range of other documents relating to the recruitment of staff. I met with you, the assistant headteacher, a group of governors and a randomly selected group of pupils.

“I looked at a wide range of school documents relating to safeguarding and child protection arrangements. You took me on a tour of the school and I observed pupils in their classrooms throughout the school.

“Having considered the evidence I am of the opinion that at this time: safeguarding is effective.”

Mrs Varney did, however, criticise the way the school handled the complaint, saying: “When an allegation is made, it is important that the local authority’s designated officer is informed and consulted before any investigation takes place rather than during the investigation process.

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“The school’s written policy on managing allegations does not make the process clear enough and, as a result, leaders are not sufficiently aware that the designated officer must be the first port of call rather than a subsequent one.”

Benwick Primary School, on High Street, has 97 pupils and achieved a ‘good’ rating in its last Ofsted report.

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