Ofsted Best practice in safeguarding in colleges April 2011


Best practice in safeguarding in

colleges

A survey of best practice in safeguarding based on visits to 14 of the 15 colleges thatreceived an outstanding grade for the leadership and management of their

safeguarding arrangements in 2009/10.

 

Telford College of Arts and Technology:

Extensive policies, procedures and guidance informed safe working practices. Internet safety

was included in tutorials and in additional safety workshop programmes to

support learners to use the internet safely both on and off site. The

computer services manager was a member of the internal safeguarding

group. Guidance on the safe use of the internet had been produced for

staff, learners and parents and included videos displayed in recreation

areas. The computer services team had developed bespoke software to

identify and block technology misuse. Software links to personal tutors

kept them well informed of concerns and allowed tutors to agree levels of

access for individual learners. Learners displayed high levels of awareness

of internet safety and understood why the controls were in place. The

computer services manager had developed strong external links locally

within the county council and nationally with the Child Exploitation and

Online Protection Centre (CEOP) so that best practice was adopted.

 

 

The range of risks associated with using the internet was recognised as a

priority area. Colleges used standard precautions such as having filtering and

monitoring software in place. In addition, there was often a high level of

vigilance by staff concerning learners’ use of the internet in computer rooms

and in libraries and resource centres. Learners were kept well informed about

the dangers associated with using the internet, but equally they were

encouraged to take responsibility for their usage and to act sensibly and safely.

Colleges varied in their approach to allowing the use of social networking sites

during the college day. Several had a full ban in place, but others allowed some

access at certain times. However, in all cases, the risks attached were made

explicit and responsible usage was promoted strongly, while recognising that

such technology was part of everyday life.

 

ESPA:

Particular attention was given to the use of the internet

and social networking sites in the context of autistic learners, who might

misunderstand how the concept ‘friend’ is applied on social networking

sites. Work in the curriculum was particularly effective because of the

thought given to the needs of individual learners, for example to address

any compulsive behaviour that put them at risk.

 

The report notes that:

Colleges used a range of effective approaches to ensure that learners developed

a sound knowledge of safe use of the internet, and monitored developments in

this fast changing area.

The promotion of safeguarding was led well by principals and senior managers,

with strong support from governors and trustees. Equally, the culture had

permeated all parts of the college’s workforce. A sound policy basis and good

awareness of legislative requirements underpinned the culture.

The curriculum was used highly effectively to make learners think and act more

safely. High quality resources were available to teachers to lead lessons on safety

topics and the coverage was relevant, topical, and often delivered by specialists.

Education about internet safety had been given high priority with

recognition of the need to keep reviewing this aspect in the light of ever-changing

technology. A ‘zero tolerance’ approach to lapses in safety precautions was

reinforced effectively at all levels of management. Site security arrangements at all

the colleges had received careful consideration and were effective while maintaining

an open and friendly environment.

 

Safeguarding policies provided appropriate guidance on all the relevant aspects

of each college’s work, including the different age ranges and the various

groups of learners who attended courses run by the college. They covered the

approach to both college-based and employment-based settings and

incorporated how employers should be guided in meeting safeguarding

requirements.

Recommendations

Colleges should:

identify responsibility and accountability for safeguarding arrangements

clearly and at a senior level

ensure that quality training results in a workforce that is confident and well

equipped to promote safeguarding in a sensible and proportionate way

sharpen the focus of self-assessment to ensure that the impact of

safeguarding provision is measured effectively

keep abreast of changes to legal requirements and ensure that policies and

procedures are revised accordingly.