Schools and Colleges have a key role to play in safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children:
- Section 175 of the Education Act 2002 places a duty on local authorities (in relation to their education functions and governing bodies of maintained schools and further education institutions, which include sixth-form colleges) to exercise their functions with a view to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children who are pupils at a school, or who are students under 18 years of age attending further education institutions.
- The same duty applies to independent schools (which include Academies and free schools) under section 157 of the same Act.
- In order to fulfil their safeguarding duties, these bodies should have in place the arrangements set out in Chapter 2 of Working Together to Safeguard Children (HMG, 2015).
- Schools and colleges must also have regard to the statutory guidance Keeping Children Safe in Education (DfE, 2016).
The ESCB has a statutory responsibility to assess how effectively its partners are fulfilling their safeguarding obligations and the audit supports this work.
Update: ESCB Schools and Colleges Audit 2017-18
Schools were not required to complete the audit for the academic year 2016-17, as they are now working to a two-year reporting cycle to the ESCB.
The process for completing the audit this year has changed, in that the contract with the Virtual College has ceased.
The document will now be in Excel format, and it is hoped that this will eliminate some of the issues that occurred with logging on to the online version.
The audit will go ‘live’ at October half-term and be sent out through the Headteacher Associations.
It will be made available both here and via Essex Schools Infolink.
Schools will have until 31st May 2018 to complete the audit and return it to the ESCB.