Agenda item

Safeguarding in Education 2018


Debbie Smith, Safeguarding and Inclusion Team Manager at Bracknell Forest Council presented the annual Safeguarding in Education report which included the annual Elective Home Education and Children Missing Education reports.


There had been a sharp incline in the number of fixed term exclusions, which was now starting to reduce. Alternative provision was working well in the local area. The number of permanent exclusions had increased during the year, having been low previously. The most common reason for exclusion was persistent disruptive behaviour.


Where there were concerns around primary pupils at risk of exclusion, Standards and Effectiveness Partners from the Local Authority would work with schools to address issues in conjunction with school improvement. 


Two Independent Review Panels (IRPs) had been held within the year, and both had been ‘quashed and redirected’. Learning arising from these Panels form the basis of training with Headteachers and Governors in the Autumn term. The most common issues raised by Panels were around undiagnosed SEN in excluded pupils, and the process around the exclusion decision taken by schools.


The Fair Access Panel continued to meet regularly to discuss children who were moving schools. During the year, 65% of young people referred for a managed move within secondary schools were moved to an alternative provision, or to the Pupil Referral Unit. At primary level, this level was 5%. Feedback from Headteachers indicated that Fair Access Panel was now a more efficient use of time.


Safeguarding arrangements in schools were strong, and it was noted that Section 11 processes had strengthened arrangements. Ofsted inspections during the year had found all schools to be effective in safeguarding.


Loudmouth Productions had been commissioned to deliver a safeguarding drama workshop with primary schools, and schools had been selected based on analysis of children who had been referred to MACE or SEMRAC.


All secondary schools now run LGBT drop-in groups, which had begun with input and training sessions from Mermaid UK.


The Designated Leads meeting continued to have good attendance, and representatives from neighbouring authorities and independent schools had been buying into the service to attend these meetings.


The outcome of a government review of Elective Home Education was expected in mid-June 2019. Bracknell Forest’s processes around EHE had been strengthened as far as possible but were limited by current legislation.


Children Missing in Education processes had been clarified and strengthened over the year, and a multi-agency panel met monthly to discuss these cases.


In response to questions, the following points were noted:

  • Exclusion guidance stated that academies did not have to have Local Authority representation at either the Governor Discipline Committee or Independent Review Panel. This had led to limited scrutiny in exclusions from academies, where the Local Authority had not been invited to attend.
  • The new Ofsted framework released in September 2019 would have an increased focus on exclusions and ‘off-rolling’.
  • It was noted that sometimes fixed term exclusion could be a positive contributor in a child’s journey, when coupled with support.
  • The Board agreed that it would be useful to conduct some deep dive audits into exclusions to assess whether the actions taken were appropriate, whilst reflecting on the primary exclusions audit conducted two years ago.
  • The Board was pleased to see a low level of children with SEN who were excluded.
  • Inclusion hubs were being reviewed to provide SEN support for excluded pupils, having previously provided support for behavioural issues but not for EHCPs.
  • It was noted that support for parents of children struggling with school would be key to prevent any mental health decline.


The Board thanked Debbie for her comprehensive reports.