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Suffolk County Council review into safeguarding at Riverwalk School found measures put in place by staff to be 'robust'

A review into safeguarding at a Bury St Edmunds special school which was launched after parents raised concerns about their children's welfare has found that measures put in place by staff are 'robust'.

Riverwalk School was the subject of a review which took place at the beginning of November after a group of parents claimed that their children were coming home unfed and unchanged.

The report was commissioned by Suffolk County Council, which until last week was responsible for the school, and was carried out by Mary Rayner from the Cambridge Meridan Academies Trust.

Riverwalk School, Riverwalk Campus, Mayfield Road, Bury St Edmunds Picture Mark Westley. (7059845)
Riverwalk School, Riverwalk Campus, Mayfield Road, Bury St Edmunds Picture Mark Westley. (7059845)

In her report, she said that the purpose of the review was to examine 'the effectiveness of the school and its staff in keeping children safe and ensuring their wellbeing in relation to academic, personal and physical needs', 'the training of staff to fulfil this need, including regular and communication with parents and carers that has impact' and 'the effectiveness of managing safeguarding concerns and complaints relating to children’s safety that are raised, including recording and follow up of concerns and arrangements for communications with parents and carers'.

Her findings said that the recording of concerns is 'appropriate, timely and accurate' and that staff are 'appropriately trained, in line with current expectations'.

Records of staff training were found to be 'well kept', and the report said that staff 'know how to raise any concerns they may have about the welfare of a child'.

Ms Rayner also said that staff have 'undertaken appropriate safeguarding training' and that other training 'looks to be well attended' but that she was unable to comment on the quality of that training.

She added that school governors are 'appropriately trained in safeguarding duties', are 'ambitious for the school' and say they 'spend time in school and work with leaders to ensure pupils’ welfare is a priority'.

Communication between parents and staff was outlined as a problem within the school, with parents unaware of the 'types of training received by staff', such as first aid and Epi Pen training.

Staff have therefore been urged to ' establish and communicate a process that provides parents with opportunities to drop in and ask questions, raise concerns or simply find out more about their child’s learning'

Ms Rayner also advised that the recording of behaviour should be improved and a review carried out into the safety of children with regards to the school gate, doors and play space.

A review carried out by the Challenge Partners charity which aims to see schools work together to improve the education system also found the school to be 'good' in all areas assessed, which were school improvement strategies, outcomes for pupils and quality of teaching, learning and assessment.

Chris Hodgson, chair of governors of the school, said in a letter to parents that the school 'takes safeguarding very seriously' and that the governors 'are involved in regular monitoring visits'.

"The governors would like to reiterate that it shows that safeguarding procedures within the school are robust," he said.

He added: "I would like to thank all the staff at Riverwalk for all their hard work, and commitment to the children who are very clearly supporting your children to learn and make progess."

  • For a full report, see next week's Bury Free Press.

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