The Ascent Academies Trust – Case Study

CPOMS – A User Perspective

We are an Academy Trust comprising of 5 Special Academies across 7 sites and 3 different Local Authorities. We currently educate over 750 pupils, all who have a Special Educational Need and employ over 400 staff. CPOMS has transformed the way we manage our Safeguarding to ensure that all recording is first hand and is a holistic view of the child/young person. We are using the admin features to tailor it to our own specific needs and to be able to evidence Statutory requirement from the updates in Keeping Children Safe in Education (2016 update).

As the Trust Lead for Safeguarding I have overview and admin access to the CPOMS system for all 5 Academies. This is from one merilock and with the option of having the same password which facilitates easy yet secure access. I am able to request staff members who work across the Trust to have input access to more than one Academy in order that they can evidence any parental/professional contact or concern. This is vital when children go to another of our sites to be educated, as the DSLs can be added and have the ability to monitor incidents even when the student is off site.

Supervision

Adding a ‘Case Review’ tab has enabled me to directly record on the case file where a child has been discussed in Supervision.  This evidences that cases are being discussed and reflected on.  I have also added a tab for ‘Professional Disagreement/Reconsideration’ to evidence cases which we escalate.  At any point I can review a child’s case remotely and set actions for staff.  This reduces the need to email or contact by telephone as the action or request for an action is logged directly on the case file.

Key Areas of Concern/Inspection Priorities:

In terms of the requirements of KCSIE I have added tabs specifically relating to the key areas of concern. ‘Prevent’, ‘Forced Marriage’ ‘Peer on peer abuse’ and ‘Racist incident’ for example. I have also added an ’Early Help’ tab to include reference to the proactive strategies which are being implemented in the setting to prevent cases escalating into the Child Protection Arena.

In terms of Attendance, you can add subcategories according to your specific procedures e.g. Formal letter 1, Formal Letter 2, etc. ‘Missing in Education’ can be added should this be required.

‘Voice of the child’ is a key tab which clearly demonstrates throughout your record that this is a key priority. Agencies can also be added as and when needed by your DSL with admin access, for example ‘The Forced Marriage Unit’. This is useful when working across Academies as agencies vary greatly in different Local Authorities. The ability to add categories and agencies means each CPOMS is specific to the needs of your students and the professionals who work with them.

We also have a tab for ‘IMPERO’ which is our filtering and monitoring system for ICT. Should a student type anything into a PC which is ‘captured’ by our system, then this is easily added to CPOMS and a screen shot added to the incident.

Monitoring Concerns

You can easily set up your system so that your Safeguarding Leads have access to all cases.  You can also identify key students for alerts, so that any incidents relating high risk or monitored students go to key staff.  If there is ‘need to know’ information which needs to be shared with tutors, for example, they can be alerted into the incident. This is particularly useful when following up on action and sharing the outcome with others and reduces additional telephone calls and emails.  This can be done on a case by case basis.

Heads of Academy can be alerted to the ‘Child Protection’ category so they have an overview of the key cases.

Monitoring Caseload

Using the Overview Tab, you can identify your key caseloads, such as CP, CIN, TAF/TAC/CAF and LAC.  By ticking these boxes on the student’s overview page, you can ‘filter these groups’ by category so that you can bring up current caseload during inspection. Similarly you can filter any category to bring up quickly cases of ‘peer on peer abuse’ for example or your cases in Early Help.  I have also added Support Levels 1, 2, 3 and 4 on my categories.

        Support Level One: (0) Green Tab 

This applies to all children in the setting who have no current involvement with the Safeguarding Team (but who obviously would be supported should this change).

        Support Level Two: (1)   Yellow Tab 

This applies to all children in the setting who have minimal involvement with the Safeguarding Team; TAF, TAC, CIN meetings which require 4 to 6 weekly meetings but minimal support in between meetings.

        Support Level Three: (5) Orange Tab 

This applies to all children in the setting who have regular involvement with the Safeguarding Team; CIN, CP, Strategy meetings or Early Help Support which requires Safeguarding involvement once or twice a week.

        Support Level Four: (15) Red Tab 

This applies to all children in the setting who have intense involvement with the Safeguarding Team; CIN, CP, Strategy meetings or Early Help Support which requires Safeguarding involvement at least 3 times a week or intensely over a sustained period in any given week.

Each child is placed in a level depending on the level of time/input involved. This means that I can score and weight the caseloads being held by each DSL and in each Academy and target resource accordingly.  Often the majority of time spent by Safeguarding Leads is actually on the cases and families who are not in the safeguarding arena.  This enables you to evidence this. 

Parents often move address and change telephone numbers and similarly key professionals are often changing. This is easily input in the system on the contact page, where we add the professionals involved. This enables your key staff to be able to support with cases they are not familiar with in an emergency/cover situation. Similarly the overview page displays Special Need and Medical/Health Issues so that students at additional risk are easily identifiable.  Additional info can be added to the Overview page for students to alert additional need/circumstance, such as ‘pending ICPC’ ‘Care Proceedings’ etc.  This, again, ensures complete clarity for those who aren’t familiar with the case.  Using the planner also enables remote users to know when key meetings are coming up (EHCP, LAR, Core Group etc).  This can also be displayed on the overview page so it is readily accessible for each child.

Library

This is an excellent place to keep copies of your non-confidential items such as KCSIE (2016), Working Together (2015) and your whole-school staff behaviour and Child Protection policies.  This also evidences that they are accessible to all staff.   Sign-in sheets for Safeguarding training and for Policy review can also be scanned in and added to the library for easy access (confidential info relating to specific children are placed in their individual document vault just as you would place them on a hard file and they are protected so that only your DSLs have access.

Whole School Responsibilities

From your business support team, who take contact from parents and professionals to your lunchtime supervisors (they can have a screenshot of the ‘new incident’ page to complete manually if they have no ICT access), then CPOMS is a great way of ensuring a 360 degree perspective of the child and those working to support them.

Admin access allows the DSL to review all staff who have CPOMS access and clearly identifies when they last accessed the system. This enables the Safeguarding Lead to target individual staff and provide additional support should help be required around entering incidents on CPOMS.  It also enables the DSL to evidence the whole workforce commitment to safeguarding in that every member of staff accesses the system and ensures concerns are logged.

CPOMS has transformed the way we report, record and monitor Safeguarding across our Trust.  It enables a 360 degree perspective of the child or young person and ensures that every contact, incident and concern forms part of the wider case chronology.  The capacity it has to filter cases ensures that all information is readily accessible for reviews and inspection.  It is user-friendly and does not require additional training, but the support team at CPOMS are happy to support with this or any other query which may need addressing.  I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to other Academies.

Reference details

Sharon Brown

Ascent Academies’ Trust Safeguarding Lead
Ascent Academies’ Trust

Telephone: 0191 5536050

Web: www.ascenttrust.org 

Brooke Weston Trust – Case Study

Background

Brooke Weston Trust (BWT) is based in the East Midlands, with a family of ten state primary and secondary schools in Northamptonshire and Cambridgeshire collectively educating more than 7000 students each year. From pre-school to sixth form, BWT are experts in all areas of 3-18 education and have a long history of helping young people move on to the next stage of their lives fully prepared and ready to succeed. 

The Trust’s statement is Ambition for All – a single focus on improving academic outcomes and opportunities for character development. It applies to all areas of our operation to ensure students receive the highest quality teaching and wider development opportunities within a supportive and encouraging environment. To embed Ambition for All throughout our operation we have four interlinked strands:-

  • Personal Development for staff and students 
  • Strong Leadership 
  • High Quality Teaching
  • Great Progress and Outcomes

Safeguarding is a major consideration for our Academies and one of a few Trusts with a dedicated Safeguarding personnel, with overview for the strategic development of safeguarding matters within the Trust.

Why chose an Online Management System?

It was quickly identified during an Ofsted inspection that the methods of recording and sharing information was out of date and ineffective, combined with poor quality of information leading to unhealthy chronologies without action plans. After a thorough Quality Assurance audit and decision to overhaul the system, a procurement process was implemented with the outcome being to secure an Online Management System. This was fully supported by the Chief Executive Officer.

As part of this process, CPOMS offered a demonstration to a small group of Designated Safeguarding Leads. The feedback highlighted “easy to use, easy to understand cost effective”

CPOMS was the successful company with the brief to implement across the Trust all ‘in one go’.

A twilight training session was provided to the Designated Safeguarding staff labelled as “key holders” and after a month’s trial, the remaining staff were introduced to the “new cause for concern form”.

Despite the initial hesitation from staff about how would they access a computer to input the information, the benefits have had a long lasting and profound effect upon the day to day usage.

The benefits include:-

  • Staff are able to report concerns using a quick and simple single reporting form
  • Staff can alert one or more than one Designated Safeguarding Leads depending upon the set up in each Academy
  • Designated Safeguarding Lead’s receive concerns quickly by an email alert and are able to respond to the action 
  • Designated Safeguarding Leads are able to obtain an over-sight of the nature of concerns through the use of a chronology 
  • The system can be accessed via internet usage at any establishment
  • Information sharing is easy and secure
  • ‘Files’ can be moved between any CPOMS customer
  • Safeguarding data is easy to access and analyse to identify trends in reported information 
  • The system works seamlessly with a number of Management Information Systems used across the Trust e.g. SIMS; Progresso; CMIS
  • The support provided by the CPOMS team is outstanding
  • The Managing Director, John Wild has been fully supportive 
  • The Chief Executive of Brooke Weston Trust is able to use CPOMS to support his duties around safeguarding governance for the Boards Trustees.
  • Since implementing CPOMS across the Trust, OfSTED inspectors have made positive comments about staff’s knowledge of cases, the system and quality of records that are being maintained

“Leaders have introduced a new electronic system of recording safeguarding concerns. Staff appreciate the ease with which this enables them to make referrals. 

Leaders take appropriate action if they have concerns over a pupil’s safety or well-being and follow up concerns in a timely manner.” (Ofsted May 2015)

Summary

If Brooke Weston Trust had to summarise, it would be
“invaluable, integral to our work, met all our expectations and is an absolute safeguarding reporting recommendation”

Reference details

Martine Boyd

Senior Education Welfare and Safeguarding Officer (Trust) 

Telephone: 01536 397000

Web: https://www.brookewestontrust.org 

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