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Kennet School found to have effective child safety measures

Snap Ofsted inspection finds staff 'highly vigilant' in keeping pupils safe

10-3214A GV Kennet School

KENNET School has effective measures in place to safeguard children, Ofsted has said. 

The result followed a snap inspection of the school’s measures for protecting pupils last month, which said that staff were well trained and “highly vigilant in their work to keep pupils safe”. 

Inspectors noted that a serious case review into how former teacher Robert ‘Alan’ Neill was allowed to rape and abuse boys in his care was published in February this year. 

Neill, employed at Kennet School from September 1, 1995, until November 9, 2007, was jailed for 21 years in March 2016.

The review also looked into former Kennet School youth counsellor, the Rev Peter Jarvis, who was jailed in April 2016 for child sex offences.

The review said that: “School staff, the governing body and the head have been deeply affected by the prosecution of [Neill and Jarvis] and were determined that these offences should not be repeated.”

And following a surprise inspection, with inspectors calling 15 minutes before arriving, Ofsted has said that Kennet has effective measures in place to safeguard children. 

Inspector Kathryn Moles said pupils felt safe and well supported at the school. 

She said: “The house system and the pastoral support team provide layers of care that meet the needs of individual pupils very well, enabling them to focus on their studies and achieve academic success.

“Pupils know who they would speak to if they had any concerns, and feel confident that staff would support them if they needed help with situations that worried them.”

Furthermore, governors were said to hold leaders stringently to account for their work to keep pupils safe.

The report noted that the Kennet School Academies Trust had recently formed a safeguarding committee and, although in its infancy, was working to monitor and develop the effectiveness of safeguarding arrangements.

To improve, Ofsted said that Kennet needed to bring together the range of written behaviour management guidance available to staff, particularly in relation to bullying and physical restraint.

Headteacher Paul Dick said: “I am incredibly proud of the team at Kennet School, directors, governors, teachers, other staff, pupils and parents. 

“We work incredibly hard in search of excellence in all facets of school life. 

“Our children need to feel safe and secure if they are to develop at the high rate demanded by our ambition for them. 

“We seek to produce happy, well-rounded, independent thinking young citizens whose future life chances are enhanced by our school. 

“This report confirms we have a happy and safe school where pupils, parents and staff are proud and are determined to improve further. 

“The one recommendation is a policy issue and the policy is being re-written over the summer and will be shared appropriately in September with all stakeholders. 

“We found the visit challenging, rewarding and helped us to reflect on the way forward.”

The serious case review said that no one had been disciplined over the Neill and Jarvis cases, but many of those individuals were no longer at the school. 

Ofsted said that the arrangements for safeguarding were highly effective at Kennet when it rated the school as outstanding last year. 

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