Angry Cambs councillors fearful of “another Soham” demands head on a plate!
SO angry were county councillors with a head teacher who they claimed risked “another Soham” they wanted to summon both him and the chairman of the governors to explain themselves.
The furious reaction by members of the county council audit and accounts committee-revealed in reports to next Wednesday’s meeting- came after a study showed the school had fallen down on its recruitment procedures.
The committee heard previously that the unnamed school – which has recently become an academy-, was the only one in Cambridgeshire to receive only “limited assurance” on safer recruitment. Two thirds of the 17 spot checked had been awarded a glowing “substantial” rating.
“Members expressed their extreme concern regarding the fact that one school had continued to only receive limited assurance for safeguarding,” says the report.
“The school appeared to be continuing to disregard best practice advice provided.
“It was established during the discussion that the school was now an academy and therefore while it was no longer the county council’s responsibility should another Soham take place there would still be inevitable reputational damage to the council in the public’s eye.”
The report added: “More importantly it was emphasised that the county council’s prime objective in terms of its duty of care should still be to safeguard the county’s children and prevent them from coming to harm.”
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But Quentin Baker, the council’s monitoring officer and legal adviser, will tell next week’s committee that he “would advise against” inviting the head and/or chairman to a meeting.
“It would go beyond the scope of the committee’s terms of reference to hear directly from the head or chairman,” he said.
Discussing children’s safeguarding at a public meeting also “risks undermining the safety of that school’s pupils” he added.
However the committee will hear that the head has now written to explain how his procedures have been strengthened and the council was “assured by the correspondence” that the situation had improved.