Private schools ‘not safeguarding pupils’

Around one third of private schools are failing to safeguard their pupils, according to Ofsted’s annual report.

“It is a major concern that about a third of non-association independent schools do not fully meet the requirements for safeguarding pupils,” the report read.

Social care in children’s homes also comes in for criticism. One in twelve adoption or fostering agency or residential school are judged inadequate.

“This is a cause for concern,” Ofsted said.

Of the children’s homes inspected between July 2007 and August 2008, two thirds are good or outstanding. But eight per cent of children’s homes were inadequate at their most recent inspection. Safeguarding and management were the areas most frequently requiring improvement in the homes.

National minimum standards and regulations for private fostering arrangements are not yet consistently met, and the attention and resources that local authorities give to monitoring private fostering arrangements vary, according to the report.

“This calls into question the ability of some local authorities to improve the quality of this provision,” the report went on to say.

The failings come as national attention remains on local authorities ability to protect vulnerable children following the controversy over the death of Baby P in Harningey.

Liberal Democrat children, schools and families spokesman David Laws said: “This report makes some deeply concerning criticisms of child protection services.

“Some of the issues being raised may have been relevant in the Baby P case. Ed Balls must explain why action on these matters has not already been taken, given that Ofsted is repeating earlier criticisms.”

Other parts of the report highlighted a failure to improve inadequate childcare.

A higher proportion of childcare and early education was marked good or outstanding in the report, but the level of inadequate care showed no changes, remaining at four per cent.

The gap between the best and worst secondary schools remained “unacceptable” according to the report. Nine per cent of secondary schools, and four per cent of primary schools were marked in this category.