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Independent safeguards;Letter

I was pleased to see the report (TESS, February 20) which stated that the Scottish Council of Independent Schools' Guidelines for child protection had been praised by the authors of the children's safeguards review. I was disappointed, however, that the review contained the suggestion that independent schools which take boarders may be more lax than children's residential care establishment in recruitment and vetting staff.

Although I can only speak with personal experience of our own schools, I have been involved in discussions with colleagues in other independent schools which suggest that, far from being lax, we take our responsibilities in this respect very seriously indeed. All adults who work with children are vetted and checked both through the police criminal records and through other agencies where it is appropriate.

We also have a programme of induction and training for all our staff and our schools' child protection policies apply within the boarding houses in exactly the same way as they do within the schools themselves.

The report of the children's safeguard review is an extremely important one and I am sure that it will have a positive effect on procedures with regard to children who live away from home whether in care or in residential boarding accommodation.

BRYAN LEWIS, Headmaster

The Mary Erskine and Stewart's Melville Junior School, Edinburgh

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