An Open Letter to Members of Parliament and an appeal to protect 8.5 million children from harm in UK schools.

Dear Member of Parliament,

I am a former Teacher/ Behaviour Support worker and a Pride of Britain Awards regional Finalist with over 20 years experience working in schools.  I have written to you as one of over 500 MP’s on numerous occasions, as well as to the Education and Shadow Education Secretaries and my Local MP. I have written in order to raise concerns, that admitted flaws in the Safeguarding procedures and reporting systems of OFSTED and the DfE, have left 8.5 Million children across the UK at risk of serious harm within schools. Attached to my correspondence previously, has been documentary evidence including court documents, supporting the concerns.

Some of the facts below outline the case which led to the admission by OFSTED to the flaws and failings and illustrates why a continued failure to act by MP’s and Ministers on the concerns would leave every child in the UK at risk of harm:

1 ) Concerns where raised with OFSTED and the DfE that there had been a number of failures at a school run by a company responsible for a number of schools across the UK, to deal with concerns and protect children from extreme violence and neglect. The specific concerns related to not just the violence but documentary evidence of the covering up of those issues through a number of actions, including the misrepresentation of safeguarding data to Inspectors.

2 ) OFSTED & the DfE failed to investigate the concerns, as a result of their own failures and ultimately losing the concerns reported to them. Staff within OFSTED have since admitted to and presented me with confirmation of this in writing, to evidence the flaws within their reporting systems and safeguarding procedures that allowed for the failings.

More disturbingly, recent Police FOI requests have shown that the number of violent incidents at the school in question, have increased to an unprecedented level since the concerns were lost, with the issues left unaddressed by Mp’s and Officials and the children suffering needlessly right up until the present day. Left unaddressed, it is clear that these flaws in the National system, allow for further failures to occur, potentially affecting every child in every school across the country.

3 ) The case included concerns of there being riots and up to 30 or more documented serious assaults a month in one particular school, many resulting in injuries to both children and staff, often at times resulting in hospital treatment with many of the incidents that occurred in the school involving the use of weapons, including glass. Such were the levels and frequency of violence that the Police were being forced  to attend the school to emergency calls 2 to 3 times every week.

4) It is improbable that OFSTED and the DfE could have ever received many more cases as extreme as the one outlined above, so to have lost the concerns and then failed to consider requests to follow them up, essentially allowing the school and the company to ignore the complaints, demonstrates how the admitted flaws in their procedures and systems may be putting the lives and safety of so many children at risk..

5)  A number of  MP’s, Organisations, Authorities and Ministers  over 4 years have acknowledged there are issues that need addressing but up until now, no – one has been willing to accept responsibility, with most stating that it is not within their jurisdiction or remit to get involved. This begs the question of who is responsible and who will act on behalf of the children.

Conclusion

This case clearly raises legitimate concerns for every parent and carer in the country about the safety of their own children and indeed what happens to their concerns when they try to raise them and what has happened to concerns in the past, that parents and carers may feel have not been dealt with satisfactorily.  I have on numerous occasions warned about the potential for these flaws in the system to lead to a tragedy  within our schools. I would hope that as MP’s and Ministers, everyone would learn from similar cases in the past including Rotherham and Grenfell, where numerous warnings were ignored.

The purpose of this Open Letter is so that each individual MP can be held accountable both now and importantly in the future, should any such tragedy occur in schools, that could have been easily avoided by addressing the flaws in the way that schools, OFSTED and the DfE deal with concerns.

I would now ask that MP’s respond to the private correspondence I have sent, or if you no longer have access to my emails, then via the contact page on this site, to let me know what action you intend to take. The priority would be to help facilitate a meeting to make sure that I am able to present the documents and evidence to the relevant Ministers, namely Damian Hinds and Angela Rayner, bearing in mind the previous failures of both as well as other relevant authorities, Ministers  and my Local Mp to deal with the concerns in the past.

Yours Sincerely

Jason Barnett.