A web-based Schools & Colleges Safeguarding Children audit tool is available to all Essex schools and colleges to check the strength of their safeguarding arrangements, create action plans for identified gaps, and to evidence compliance to governing bodies, the local authority, Ofsted and the ESCB. Web-links to statutory and local guidance documents are provided throughout the audit tool, alongside the associated standards. The ‘Enable’ audit tool is hosted by Virtual College’s Safeguarding Children e-Academy – the UK’s largest provider of online safeguarding children training.
The audit cycle for the 2015-16 Academic Year ended at the end of the Summer term July 2016.
Please note: There is no requirement for schools to complete the safeguarding audit this academic year (2016-17). Thanks to a 100% completion rate from schools for the audit for the previous two years, there is now a sound baseline from which to work.
Essex County Council Education services have therefore moved to a two-yearly reporting cycle to the Essex Safeguarding Children Board (in line with Section 11 audits undertaken by other organisations) and will not be reviewing schools and colleges’ safeguarding audits until the end of the Summer term, July 2018.
Details of the 2017-18 audit will be communicated in Autumn 2017.
Meanwhile, an updated safeguarding audit is available for schools and colleges who wish to voluntarily complete it before the end of the 2017-18 year. This is for school use only and there is no need to submit it elsewhere.
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.