Ofsted judges school's safeguarding 'effective' following improvements

Aerial view of Atam Academy

Atam Academy in Chadwell Heath will keep its 'Outstanding' Ofsted rating after an inspection found it had improved safeguarding. - Credit: Google Maps

Ofsted has judged safeguarding to be 'effective' at a school in Chadwell Heath where it had previously raised concerns.

The education watchdog returned to Atam Academy earlier this month after a monitoring visit in November 2020 found the Sikh denomination free school’s safeguarding practices to be ineffective. 

Executive headteacher David Martin was appointed following the November report and he has compiled a safeguarding action plan and introduced new systems and record-keeping procedures. 

Mr Martin said: “We are extremely pleased Ofsted have recognised the efforts made to ensure safeguarding is now effective at the school.  

“The school has worked very hard to build a strong reputation in the local community and achieve the outstanding judgment it richly deserved.  

“As a school we will continue to provide the world class education our family and community deserve.” 

In their monitoring visit last year, Ofsted had found that trust leaders at the school did not have a strong enough understanding of safeguarding and did not oversee day-to-day safeguarding practice effectively. 

Inspectors also found that the school’s single central record, while generally compliant, was missing “a couple” of section 128 checks, which check the names of individuals who are barred from managing schools. 

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Prior to the inspection, Redbridge Council officers had been "prevented from carrying out their duties and were asked to leave" and in another visit reported "a lack of access to key documents." 

Khalsa Academies Trust, which runs the school, disputed this and has also accused the council of “conspiring” with former staff in an attempt to dismantle it.

The council said the claims were "baseless".

Ofsted's review this month found that the school had successfully improved its practices, with the report saying: "Safeguarding is effective."

It maintains the ‘Outstanding’ rating it achieved in 2019, at least until a section 5 inspection - where inspectors make a full range of judgements on the school's effectiveness - can be made.

The inspection report said: “Leaders have identified ways to promote safeguarding, including pupils' awareness of how to keep themselves safe from harm, across the curriculum.   

“Pupils said that they feel safe in school and know where and how to access support in and outside school.  

“Trustees and members of the local advisory body are knowledgeable about the school’s safeguarding processes and understand their statutory responsibilities.”