State School Trailblazing in Student Wellbeing
with Ofsted Report Recognition

Pioneering in Contextual Safeguarding, Bilton School – part of the Stowe Valley Academy Trust – rolled out a new student safeguarding tool in March of this year, as children were returning to school.

The pilot of this new scheme is proving highly successful, with specific acknowledgement in their mid-term inspection Ofsted report.

The cutting-edge tool – The Student Voice – is made up of interactive maps where students are encouraged to share their experiences and report on areas of the school, their home learning environment and local community as ‘good’, ‘ok’, or ‘bad’ in terms of safety. It is designed to give students a safe space to report concerns, whilst enabling schools to prevent and intercept safeguarding issues and prioritise and respond effectively to student concerns.

After just one week in operation there were several submissions to the tool and after 3 months there were a total of 39 submissions. 65% of these submissions were marking areas ‘good’ or ‘okay’, giving the school the opportunity to build on positive feedback and encourage student engagement. Some areas of concern raised included safety surrounding the return to ‘in person’ teaching from digital learning, online security, safety in local areas, and possible improvements to the school equipment, building, and communication.

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As a result of this feedback, concerns have been addressed around students’ anxieties of returning to school, which has been a huge topic across schools globally, wondering what mental health impact Covid-19 and lockdown has had on young people. They have further improved communication with the Sixth Form community with a new bulletin board and whiteboards. There is a new ‘You Said, We Did’ bulletin where students can see the feedback given and what actions have been taken to work on this area. They have also been able to act on local issues, and work with police to provide a contextual response to community issues.

Ofsted Report Quote:

“You and other leaders take effective action to provide support for vulnerable pupils. For example, as part of your plan to support pupils back to school, staff worked closely with vulnerable pupils’ families. Leaders also introduced an online system for pupils to share their worries with staff. Pupils are encouraged to share any concerns they have about returning to school. Pupils value this and said that teachers respond to their concerns quickly. This has helped to reduce some pupils’ anxieties about returning to school.”

“Safeguarding is more important than ever, with young people deeply affected by recent events,” says Louis Donald, Director of Safeguarding at Stowe Valley Multi Academy Trust. “In addition to COVID-19, both personal and online safety have been raised multiple times in the news. It’s really important to us that our students are able to raise concerns in as easy a way as possible and feel listened to.”

“Young people have grown up with phones, tablets and the Internet,” says Stephen Willoughby, CEO of The Student Voice. “It’s an everyday and natural way to communicate for them and making use of this connection they have is raising safeguarding issues much more accessible.”

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