Leader magazineASCL - Association of School and College Leaders

Guidance

Public complaints

The GTC has reassured ASCL it is working to weed out vexatious complaints from disgruntled staff which come under the guise of the 'general public'.

ASCL has also been reassured about the limits on new powers for parents to complain directly to Ofsted. Ofsted has said to ASCL that it will only investigate complaints that have gone through the proper channels in the school/LA and are still unresolved.

Power to search

The power to search pupils without consent, using reasonable force on reasonable suspicion, comes into force in May. The DfES has just published its consultation on the associated guidance at www.dfes.gov.uk/consultations It is worth looking at now because it is unlikely to be much different from the final document.

The guidance has very helpful advice on 'reasonable suspicion'. For example, it suggests that someone who can be identified as a member of a gang which is known to carry weapons - this could be by a gang marker such as coloured cloth- could be reasonably suspected of carrying an offensive weapon. It also covers in detail the way a search should be conducted.

It also makes the point that schools now have the right to enforce reasonable rules for entering and remaining on the premises. This can include manual and electronic screening without suspicion. Similarly, school have the power to confiscate an item brought into school that is illegal or against school rules. Both of these powers have wide implications and should be extremely helpful.

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