THE failings identified at the Guideposts Trust at Kingfisher School are deeply worrying, both in isolation and in their totality.
Ofsted stepped in and temporarily closed the facility – a club that offers out-of-school care for up to 52 children with special educational needs and or disabilities – after its most recent inspection.
The list of failings are damning. And while all children should be properly looked after, that these failings have been highlighted at a club that looks after those with so many challenges is yet another indictment against it.
The most eye-catching failing is this failure to inform Ofsted of an allegation of abuse when it should have. And safeguarding procedures are weak and compromise children’s well-being, the inspector Melissa Cox found.
There is sometimes the view that child protection rules are too rigorous and enforced by jobsworths in hi-viz jackets with clipboards. But there is a reason they have developed as they have: to protect children.
Look at any of the childcare and abuse scandals of the past decades and you will find at the heart of it a lackadaisical ‘she’ll be right’ attitude that allowed the situation to develop.
We don’t know, to be fair, if this allegation was of physical or sexual abuse or even, ultimately, if there was a case to answer.
But that’s not the point. Systems are in place for these notifications because they feed into a bigger picture that should alert authorities to patterns of abuse.
The decision to close Guideposts was clearly the correct one and at least we have the further reassurance that it will not now re-open.
But there is no way it should ever have been running in the fashion that it was.