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Shrewsbury Colleges Group has lodged an official complaint with Ofsted regarding the recent inspection of the college.

Photo of the front of London Road Campus

The inspection team judged safeguarding to be ineffective, according to a draft report.

The inspection team’s safeguarding judgement was wrong, says the college.

James Staniforth, College Principal, said:

“Our college campuses are safe places to study. We are confident that our excellent staff have the right safeguarding processes and procedures in place. We have issued a formal complaint and await Ofsted’s decision on whether this judgement will be changed.

“We respect Ofsted’s work and mission but this particular judgement is wrong. The inspection team ran out of time and didn’t have the opportunity to assess the relevant evidence.

“In 27 years in working in education and having been through seven Ofsted inspections, I have never experienced anything like this inspection.

“This inspection team said that:

- Students did not feel safe.
This is not the case. More than 9 out of 10 students said they felt safe in our Leavers Survey in May 2019 and our new student survey in November 2019. The inspection team provided us with no evidence related to our students not feeling safe.

- We have not taken sufficient steps to help ensure the safety of students.
This is not the case. We provided the inspection team with policies, procedures and more than 50 actions we take to ensure the safety of our students. This is why our students say they do feel safe.

- Staff required to carry out site security roles have not received adequate training.
This is not the case. We provided the inspection team with detailed records of training conducted and those who attended. We have detailed training logs for 78 members of staff on the site duty rota, safeguarding and estates teams which demonstrated the wide range of training staff have received. It appears that the inspection team confused the college estates team with the site duty team and safeguarding team, and mistakenly concluded that the estates team were solely responsible for activities that are actually managed by the site duty and safeguarding teams.

- We do not have the necessary risk assessments to ensure effective safeguarding covering the college estate.
Again, this is not the case. The college has the statutory Prevent Risk Assessment. In addition, the college has a wide range of non-statutory risk assessments for specific circumstances.

- Some staff reported not feeling safe.
However, more than 9 out 10 of the 333 staff surveyed by the inspection team considered safeguarding to be effective at the college.”

The feedback given to the college during the inspection was that its safeguarding processes were effective.

“That judgement was changed on the final day of the inspection without adequate explanation,” said Mr Staniforth.

“As a consequence of running out of time, the inspection team failed to inspect:

  • the comprehensive college Safeguarding System
  • the Annual Safeguarding Report
  • Prevent risk assessments
  • Prevent action plans
  • Prevent referrals
  • site security policies
  • Health and Safety records
  • Health and Safety risk assessments
  • fire logs and risk assessments.

The college assesses risk regularly and makes changes if required to ensure that there continue to be a very low level of risk.

“Nor did the inspection team speak to the college safeguarding teams regarding their concerns.”

“Nor did the team have the time to consider the views of outside agencies. West Mercia Police have confirmed that they have ‘no concerns’ regarding any of the college’s three campuses.

“As a college Principal, teaching professional and parent I can't stress enough how important it is that all institutions are safe places to study. We would not be contesting the judgement if any part of the colleges were unsafe.

College Chair Gordon Channon said:
“We have a rich body of evidence to demonstrate that the safety and care of students in our colleges is of the upmost importance. We very much hope that common sense prevails.”

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