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Schools delay of hammer attack inquiry was unacceptable, say the courts - what knock on effect will this have?

23 October 2009

Insurers advised the Ridgeway School in Wroughton against co-operating with Swindon Local Safeguarding Children Board in carrying out a serious case review into the attack on student Henry Webster in 2007.  Their reasoning? They thought it would effect their liability.

The judge said the purpose of statutory case reviews was to learn serious lessons to prevent similar incidents - the review was eventually completed but some months after the attack and was found to be unsatisfactory.  The judge has today ordered it be carried out again.

Schools have to weigh up their obligations to both insurers and the safeguarding board because they must balance any potential liability in a negligence claim against their pervasive safeguarding obligations.  It begs the question, how should schools react when their insurers start 'advising' how and when investigations should be carried out?

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Mark Blois

Mark Blois

Partner and Head of Education

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