PARENTS have written to Cornwall Council saying they are still concerned about unsafe conditions and other safeguarding issues at a primary school which received an “inadequate” rating following a recent Ofsted inspection.

Inspectors visited St Germans Primary School, near Saltash, in November and raised concern that it had “not established an effective safeguarding culture”. The report said that necessary changes to the organisation of the school had led to “low staff morale” and that the school has not ensured that all staff have had the latest safeguarding training.

It added: “Changes to the way that records relating to safeguarding are kept are not universally used. This means there are gaps in the records relating to safeguarding. Relevant information is not always shared in a robust way. This means that the most vulnerable pupils are put at risk, because the school’s ability to identify need and secure the help that is needed is hampered.”

Inspectors also found that risk assessments relating to the buildings are sometimes nearly ten years out of date and other processes, such as those relating to mitigating risks when pupils are on trips and visits, are not effective.

The report continued: “This means that when staff and parents have raised concerns, they have not always been dealt with in the proper way. Collectively, this means members of the community have lost confidence in the school.”

Two letters from members of the public were read out at a meeting of Cornwall Council’s children and families scrutiny committee today (Wednesday, March 6).

Mr P Mitchell, of Millbrook, Torpoint, said: “Post-inspection, parents have raised concerns with staff / governors re: planning of off-site activities and unsafe conditions. What has the council put in place to monitor day-to-day operations at the school?”

Miss A Kitt, of St Germans, added “What specific actions have / are being taken to address the various unresolved safeguarding incidents or matters raised by parents with the council so that parents can have confidence their children are receiving a good education in a safe and nurturing environment?”

The council’s service director for education and community health, Eveleen Riordan, explained that the council was fully engaged with the school to introduce a range of improvements.

She told councillors: “In terms of behaviour and attitudes, we are looking at the school’s relationship and behaviour policy and we’re checking how well it supports classroom management, in particular, how staff manage low-level disruption and distraction in the class.

“We have designed, through our school improvement officer, an action plan to support the teacher to implement and we are regularly in contact with the head looking at a number of ongoing matters within the school around restructures and redundancies. Our head of school effectiveness has already addressed the school community including staff, governors and parents around the next steps.”

The officer added: “We are ensuring the school is a member of the Cornwall Association of Primary Heads and is accessing a full range of support including welfare for the head teacher.

“In terms of early years, which was deemed to be inadequate, we have one of our early years leads in discussion with the head about plans for early years and Key Stage 1, so improvements can be implemented and monitored.”

The council is also ensuring there is additional support for pupils with special educational needs in the early years phase. “We’ve arranged for a full review of safeguarding which is taking place this term,” added Ms Riordan.

Local councillor Kate Ewert responded: “I want to make sure we’re giving assurances to parents and carers at St Germans Primary that communications will improve as it has been really, really poor, and that a plan is in place to pick up all outstanding safeguarding concerns and they are investigated thoroughly.”

Ms Riordan said she would ensure communication is robust and ongoing in the coming weeks and months. “It’s important that parents, carers and the community are very well aware of progress in terms of what’s happening to improve the school but also any other changes there might be around organisation within the school.”

She added investigation into current safeguarding concerns was in hand and being forensically looked at by an officer.

Despite its “inadequate” ruling, Ofsted inspectors did praise the school for being “caring”. The report said that pupils’ personal development is promoted in a range of ways and that they enjoy learning outside and through trips and visits. Staff are also said to be well trained in approaches to support pupils with their mental health.

It added that Cornwall Council was aware of the challenges the school faces and has provided some support to manage the complexities of reorganising the school to make ends meet financially. The report continued: “It has also challenged the school about the impact of the curriculum on lower attaining pupils. However, this has not helped to address a decline in standards and weaknesses in provision in some parts of the school.”