Leader magazineASCL - Association of School and College Leaders

In the news...

Sex offenders

ASCL was at the centre of the debate over sex offenders and child welfare in schools in January.

Speaking on GMTV and the BBC evening news on the day Ruth Kelly made her speech to the Commons, John Dunford tried to offer a more measured voice amid the media frenzy.

He said that, while schools and parents were rightly concerned over the revelations, the issue was a complex one and that schools were still much safer than 30 years ago.

He said: "The last week has shaken schools' confidence in a system that they thought was watertight. School leaders need clear cut information about job applicants who want to work with children and this should come from a single source."

A BBC online article on Monday 16 January, voiced ASCL's support for the secretary of state over the issue. Martin Ward stated that although school leaders might disagree with her policies, they would not see this particular issue as a reason for her to lose her job.

Immediately following the secretary of state's announcement, John Dunford also cautioned that mandatory Criminal Records Bureau checks could cause serious problems for schools if the CRB cannot deal with the capacity.

NAO report rejected

ASCL strongly rejected the report from the National Audit Office, issued on 11 January, on the number of 'poorly performing schools'.

John Dunford was quoted in the news as saying: "This is a very weak report and I am extremely disappointed in the conclusions it has produced. They are entirely inappropriate."

"The report naively assumes that because a school is in the bottom quartile, it is failing. This is an incorrect assumption and an injudicious use of statistics. There will always be 25 per cent of schools in the bottom quartile, just as there will always be 25 per cent of schools in the top quartile."

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