Ofsted accused of keeping quiet about sex abuse cases in schools

The education standards watchdog Ofsted will be accused tonight of keeping parents in the dark over cases where teachers have been convicted of sex offences against pupils at their children's schools.

A Channel 4 News investigation, due to be screened this evening, will reveal eight examples where Ofsted failed to highlight cases in which teachers have either been found guilty of committing sex offences against children or are awaiting trial.

The revelations have prompted Barry Sheerman, who chaired the Commons select committee covering education in the last parliament, to profess his "shock" and "astonishment".

One of the most striking cases involves Headlands school in Bridlington, Yorkshire, where five members of staff have been convicted of sex offences against pupils in the past five years. Seven Ofsted reports on the school covering the period say nothing about them – instead offering assurances about the quality of child protection at the school.

The mother of the last of the five victims, who was interviewed anonymously for the programme, said: "I think if they had been regularly reporting on safeguarding issues and had been honest about what had happened then things... would have been better for my daughter and maybe it wouldn't have happened."

In April 2008, a local authority report said there had been repeated safeguarding failures at Headlands. But when Ofsted published the findings of its latest inspection in May 2008 it made no mention of any previous problems. "Procedures for the safeguarding of students meet national requirements," it said.

In another case involving a special needs school in Buckinghamshire in 2005, one of the teachers, Anthony Bulley, pleaded guilty to six counts of rape and sexual assault against four boys. He was jailed for 10 years. The headteacher was sacked and was later criticised in a serious case review for failing to ensure the safety of pupils. In Ofsted's next report in 2007, the watchdog said that child protection measures were exemplary at the school and failed to mention the case.

Other incidents include a Birmingham school where a teacher was jailed for four years for having sex with a pupil. A report from Ofsted six months later said "effective child protection policies ... are in place". Of all the other cases examined, there was only one instance of Ofsted making any reference to a previous child protection failure.

Mr Sheerman said he believed the inspectors had a duty to parents to report on cases. "We've been going through some pretty hard times with Ofsted at the moment," he said. "It's growing fast, it's growing to be a very big inspectorate and it's time, I think, it needs to be assessed very carefully by government... to assess if it's fit for purpose."

During the general election campaign, Michael Gove, who was then education spokesman for the Conservatives and is now Education Secretary, promised a review of Ofsted's operations. He said the inspectorate had taken too much on and ought to concentrate on its core responsibilities of putting more focus on teaching quality.

Ofsted told Channel 4 News that they do not include details of offences when the situation has been resolved.

"It's not the case that issues like this are never mentioned in an Ofsted report," it added. "What parents... need to be clear about is that where Ofsted inspects a school and finds fresh evidence that the child protection has not been carried out, there will be reference to failings in an Ofsted inspection report.

"The focus of the current Ofsted inspection, school inspection arrangements, are to make very clear judgements about schools being safe places and actually carrying out their safeguarding responsibilities appropriately."

The full Channel 4 News investigation will be screened on Channel 4 at 7pm tonight.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
AKB48 perform during one of their daily concerts at Tokyo’s Akihabara theatre
musicJapan's AKB48 are one of the world’s most-successful pop acts
News
Ian Thorpe has thanked his supporters after the athlete said in an interview that he is gay
people
News
The headstone of jazz great Miles Davis at Woodlawn Cemetery in New York
news
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll has brought out his female alter-ego Agnes Brown for Mrs Brown's Boys D'Movie
filmComedy holds its place at top of the UK box office
News
newsBear sweltering in zoo that reaches temperatures of 40 degrees
Arts and Entertainment
Professor Kathy Willis will showcase plants from the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew
radioPlants: From Roots to Riches has been two years in the making
Arts and Entertainment
TV The follow-up documentary that has got locals worried
Arts and Entertainment
Eminem's daughter Hailie has graduated from high school
music
Arts and Entertainment
Original Netflix series such as Orange Is The New Black are to benefit from a 'substantial' increase in investment
TVHoax announcement had caused outrage
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

News
One Direction star Harry Styles who says he has no plans to follow his pal Cara Delevingne down the catwalk.
peopleManagement confirms rumours singer is going it alone are false
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

Linux Systems Administrator

£33000 per annum + pension, 25 days holiday: Ashdown Group: A highly successfu...

SEN Teacher, Permanent Role in Ashford

Competitive Salary: Randstad Education Group: Randstad urgently seeks a qualif...

Drama Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Liverpool: We are looking for someone who can t...

**Science Teacher Urgently Required for September**

£120 - £160 per day: Randstad Education Liverpool: **Science Teacher Urgently ...

Day In a Page

Super Mario crushes the Messi dream as Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil

Super Mario crushes the Messi dream

Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil
Saharan remains may be evidence of the first race war, 13,000 years ago

The first race war, 13,000 years ago?

Saharan remains may be evidence of oldest large-scale armed conflict
Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Researchers hope eye tests can spot ‘biomarkers’ of the disease
Sex, controversy and schoolgirl schtick

Meet Japan's AKB48

Pop, sex and schoolgirl schtick make for controversial success
Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor