Ofsted has commented that improvements are being made at a Hereford secondary school that has been rated as inadequate, but has also commented that serious weaknesses remain a concern.

Following a visit from Ofsted on 13th and 14th December 2022, a report sent to Whitecross Hereford said:

“Whitecross Hereford remains inadequate and has serious weaknesses. Leaders have made progress to improve the school, but more work is necessary for the category of concern to be removed.

“You, together with leaders, staff and governors have acted swiftly to address the issues highlighted since the last inspection. The weaknesses identified were related to safeguarding and those responsible for governance effectively fulfilling their delegated duties in relation to creating a strong culture of safeguarding at your school.

“The improvement and action plans you have drawn up, following the previous inspection, are fit for purpose. You have sought external support and checking of the school’s safeguarding processes and procedures to make sure they meet statutory requirements.

“You have acted with urgency to address and implement all suggested strategies. During discussions with me, you and your colleagues have expressed your high expectations of everyone in creating a secure and robust culture of safeguarding. You have now completed all relevant and necessary pre-employment checks on all staff and governors at the school. You have made sure that all files are up to date and include
the appropriate checks.

“The single central record has been updated to include these checks. However, the single central record lacks some detail. While all checks are
accurately recorded in staff’s personnel files, the single central record does not always reflect this same level of detail. In order to further strengthen the single central record, you should ensure that all checks and who performed them are accurately reflected on the single central record.

“You have recruited several new governors. The new link governor for safeguarding has the relevant expertise to offer appropriate challenge to you and your colleagues on safeguarding practices. For example, the new link governor has made suggestions on how safeguarding practices can be optimised. Those responsible for governance now have a much sharper and clearer oversight of the practices in school. Some very new governors
would benefit from further training to ensure they fully understand their roles and responsibilities.

“Staff who are employed at the school receive regular and detailed training about safeguarding processes and procedures. This includes regular topical updates. Your staff are knowledgeable about contextual issues within the local community and the wider Herefordshire area, for example.

“However, agency staff do not yet receive this same training. While they have a basic understanding of safeguarding from their employers,
they have not got the sharp insight that your staff do. You have recognised this, and full training is planned for all staff at the start of the new term.”

More Details – Ofsted | Whitecross Hereford