Head of Independent Education and School Safeguarding Division at the Department for Education.
On 2 February, I had an open and constructive meeting with Peter Swift at Sanctuary Buildings in London. We had a wide-ranging conversation, but focused especially on the Government’s consultation document, Schools that Work for Everyone. While the Government has yet to announce the next steps, it seems likely that there will be some form of memorandum of understanding for independent schools. The purpose of this will be to make public the partnership activities undertaken by the school. My advice to our members is to begin to draw up the full list of partnership activities you are involved in to prepare for any memorandum we are invited to sign up to.
We also had a frank discussion about safeguarding and the work of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA, formerly the Goddard Inquiry) which continues its work despite the leadership turbulence it has experienced. Peter’s advice to our schools is to stay very much focused on current safeguarding procedures and conduct regular reviews based on the requirements of Keeping Children Safe in Education (latest version: September 2016). I urged Peter and his colleagues at the DFE to keep values at the heart of any strategic discussions on education, an area in which we have a great deal to offer.