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Why is a Section 175/157 required?

Update: The Section 175/157 Self-Assessment for 2021/22 is now CLOSED

Section 175 of the Education Act 2002 introduced statutory duties for Schools/Colleges, Governing Bodies and Local Authorities.  Section 175 guidance requires governing bodies to carry out an annual review of the school’s policies and procedures and to provide information to the Local Authority about how the duties set out in the guidance have been discharged.  Relatedly, a similar duty applies to proprietors of independent schools (including academies/free schools) under Section 157 of the same Act.

As part of a co-ordinated approach, the Children’s Safeguarding Assurance Partnership will be conducting the Section 175/157 audit process on behalf of the Local Authorities** in Blackpool and Lancashire.  This comprehensive annual audit captures important qualitative and quantitative information, informing an overarching dataset on the status of safeguarding arrangements across the region’s educational settings.

**For the 2021/22 academic year, settings in the Blackburn with Darwen area should refer to separate S175/157 arrangements made by the Local Authority.


Covering a large and diverse geographic area with in excess of 600 education settings brings both practical and logistical challenges.  In order to make the process as manageable as possible, the self-assessment process is completed using a dedicated online survey platform.

We fully appreciate that completing the self-assessment is a significant undertaking for schools and colleges and therefore the use of an online platform allows colleagues to input responses, save progress and print/save a copy of the completed self-assessment for action planning purposes.

To support colleagues in completing the 2021/22 self-assessment, the following S175/157 toolkit of resources and information has been developed.

About the safeguarding self-assessment

S175/157 Structure Breakdown

 

As illustrated opposite, the Section 175/157 self-assessment is comprised of an Introduction plus four distinct Parts.  Each Part includes a number of related Sections, with each Section containing a series of related Statements.

Accompanying each Statement, a Comments area is provided – this area is provided for school use when considering actions and next steps based upon your self-assessed grade (for example, if you deemed your Statement response as ‘Partially Met’, the Comments area can be used to identify how you may intend to address this aspect).

Note: Information entered in the Comments area is intended for local school use and is not used in the overarching S175/157 summary assessment process.

 


S175/S157 Completion Guidance

To support your setting through the completion of your online S175/S157 safeguarding self-assessment, a dedicated guidance document has been developed.

This guidance provides important information about using the online tool to complete your self-assessment, including saving progress, printing responses and making the final submission.


Advisory Note: It is strongly recommended that this guidance is read through and understood prior to commencing your self-assessment.

Download Link:  S175/157 Audit Completion Guidance

Grading Self-Assessment Responses

Unless otherwise indicated, self-assessment grading for each individual statement is based upon a 4-point Likert scale, namely: Not Met, Partially Met, Mostly Met or Fully Met.  To complete your self-assessment, consider each statement and assign a self-assessed grade that you believe most accurately reflects how your setting’s arrangements comply with the statement at the time of completing the audit.

When assessing your current arrangements against the statements, consider what evidence you have that would support how you have arrived at your assessment.  To support you in assigning the most appropriate grading, a reference sheet containing a description of each self-assessed grading level along with suggested examples is included in the Audit Completion Guidance document above.

The reference sheet is also available as a standalone document via the following link which may be useful to have available as you work through your submission:

Download link: Self-Assessment Grading Descriptors

 

Accessing the Online Self-Assessment Tool

For the 2021/22 academic year, the online audit tool for S175/157 self-assessment will be available during the Spring Term 2022 as follows:


Opens: 08:00 on Monday 10th January 2022

Closes: 17:00 on Sunday 24th April 2022


The online self-assessment tool can be accessed via the following link:

https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/CSAP_S175_2021

 

Important Note: If you have previously started to complete your setting’s self-assessment and elected to ‘Save and Continue Later‘, access to your saved self-assessment is through the dedicated link provided in your ‘CSAP S175 / S157 Update‘ e-mail rather than through the main link above.

Action Planning

As you complete your self-assessment, you will identify areas that require further development.  As referenced above, each statement includes a Comments area where you may wish to include local notes, observations or developments to support you with this.  It is anticipated that colleagues will use the results of their self-assessment and the associated comments to support evidencing and inform local Action Plans.

The format of Action Plans should be determined locally but to help support colleagues with this aspect, a freely-available example Action Plan template has been developed which is aligned to the self-assessment sections:

Download link: S175/157 Action Planning Template

FAQ #1: Can I save my progress when completing my S175/S157 self-assessment so I can return to it later?

Yes – we understand that completing your self-assessment is unlikely to be done in a single session and information may be required from different sources.  Your progress can be saved at any time after completing the initial page and returned to by using the ‘Save and Continue Later‘ button provided at the bottom of each page.

When you select Save and Continue Later, you will be prompted for a Name and (school) E-Mail address to which a link will be sent to continue your submission.

FAQ #2: Can more than one person in school contribute to completing the self-assessment?

Whilst we would recommend the actual completion of the self-assessment is undertaken by a named individual for consistency, it is possible to forward the ‘saved-progress’ link referred to in the previous FAQ to another member of the school team.

FAQ #3: What is the deadline for completing and submitting the self-audit?

We fully appreciate that the completion of the S175/S157 self-assessment can be a significant undertaking which may involve various members of the school team.  In order to provide sufficient time for the collation of required information, the online self-assessment for the 2021/22 academic year will remain open throughout the Spring Term 2022 as follows:

  • Self-assessment opens:  Monday 10th January 2022 (08:00)
  • Self-assessment closes: Friday 1st April 2022 (17:00)

Arrangements for future S175/S157 self-assessments will be published to this page as they become available.

FAQ #4: My school is part of a multi-academy trust. Can we complete a single S157 completion on behalf of our partner academies?

Whilst there may be common safeguarding approaches across a multi-academy trust, the self-assessment must reflect the local safeguarding arrangements.  As such, a Section 157 assessment must be completed for each individual setting.

FAQ #5: How can I obtain a copy of my completed self-audit responses?

IMPORTANT: Once you have submitted your completed self-assessment, you will be presented with a final Thank You page.  This page provides you with the opportunity to print/save your completed responses which can be used for local action planning purposes and to evidence future progression.

PLEASE NOTE:  Once you exit this page, your completed responses will no longer be available to you.  It is therefore ESSENTIAL that if you require a copy of your completed responses, it MUST be done from this page.

FAQ #6: What happens to the information we provide?

All completed responses are collated by the Children’s Safeguarding Assurance Partnership and combined to provide an overarching summary assessment across the Pan-Lancashire region.  These results are provided to the respective Local Authorities so there is a locality view of safeguarding provision for the respective area.

S175/S157 Contact Form

If you have a question or would like further information about the S175/S157 self-assessment that is not included in the FAQs above or contained within the above S175/S157 Audit Completion Guidance document, please use the Contact Form below and we will respond to your query at the earliest opportunity.

Section 175/157 enquiries