The new Keeping Children Safe in Education guidance was published on May 17th. This is my guide to some of the key messages, changes and actions for schools.
This guidance is not yet statutory and does not come into force until 3rd September. It will be updated between now and then to bring it fully into line with changes from the 2017 Children and Social Work Act and the changes from that to Working Together to Safeguard Children. We were expecting the revised version of Working Together to Safeguard Children to be released in April 2018, but this has not yet happened.
The reason that this version of KCISE has been released before this is to allow schools time to review their policies and training before the guidance comes into force in September.
There are key changes to the structure of Keeping Children Safe in Education.
There are now 5 main parts
1. Safeguarding information for all staff
This part must be read and understood by all staff who should sign that they have read and understood it. I recommend that this is extended to regular volunteers.
Most of the information about specific forms of abuse and safeguarding in specific circumstances has been moved to Annex A. This means that all staff ‘who work directly with children’ should read this alongside Part 1.
2. The management of safeguarding
This must be read and understood by all school leaders, particularly Governing Bodies of all kinds.
3. Safer Recruitment
Key reading for anyone involved in recruitment
4. Allegations of abuse made against teachers and other staff
This provides the detailed guidance for the management of allegations to be used alongside the advice of the LADO (Local Authority Designated Officer). It is important all who would be potentially involved in managing such allegations are confident with the contents of this before any such incident occurs, so they are able to respond appropriately.
5. NEW: Child on Child sexual violence and harassment
Peer on peer abuse is a key theme throughout KCSIE. This section takes much of the information from the 2017 Guidance on Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment between Children and places it in this key statutory piece of guidance, showing its importance. The December 2017 guidance has been up dated alongside KCSIE 2018.
There are now 8 annexes:
A. Further Information
This is substantially reshaped and comes with it own contents list. It covers additional key information about specific forms of abuse and safeguarding issues. This covers:
• Children and the court system (as witnesses) NEW
• Children missing from education- there is increased emphasis on this and it must be included in induction training
• Children with family members in prison NEW
• Child sexual exploitation
• Child criminal exploitation: county lines NEW
• Domestic abuse
• Homelessness NEW
• So called ‘honour based’ violence (including FGM and forced marriage)
• Preventing radicalisation
• Peer on peer abuse
• Sexual violence and sexual harassment between children in schools and colleges There is also a very useful list of links to further guidance. This would make a useful appendix for school safeguarding policies and resource for DSLs
B. Role of Designated Safeguarding Lead.
C. Online Safety
D. Boarding Schools, residential special schools, residential colleges and children’s homes
E. Host Families- homestay during exchange visits.
Parents in UK host families will need an enhanced DBS
F. Regulated activity
G. Disclosure and Barring Checks
H. Table of substantive changes from September 2016
Must and should
This guidance provides clarity on the difference between ‘must’ and ‘should’ in the guidance. “Must” is when the person in question is legally required to do something and “should” is when the advice set out should be followed unless there is good reason not to.
There is a strong emphasis on immediate action to raise concerns and that staff should involved the DSL in this.
SEND: Special Education Needs and Disabilities
The guidance has increased emphasis on the message that we should be aware of the additional vulnerabilities of children with SEND due to:
• assumptions that indicators of possible abuse such as behaviour, mood and injury relate to the child’s disability without further exploration;
• being more prone to peer group isolation than other children;
• the potential for children with SEN and disabilities being disproportionally impacted by behaviours such as bullying, without outwardly showing any signs;
• communication barriers and difficulties in overcoming these barriers
Role of Deputy DSL
The leadership of safeguarding remains with the DSL and cannot be delegated, however there is greater clarity about the role of the deputy DSL. There are constant referrals to their role and it is clear that their level of training must be the same as the DSL. The role of the deputy DSL should be highlighted as part of induction.
The role of the DSL is emphasised and the list of occasions when Early Help could be needed is extended to include when a child
• is showing signs of being drawn in to anti-social or criminal behaviour, including gang involvement and association with organised crime groups;
• is at risk of modern slavery, trafficking or exploitation
• is showing early signs of abuse and/or neglect;
• is at risk of being radicalised or exploited;
• is a privately fostered child.
There is more emphasis on linking the different factors in different areas of children’s lives and trying the understand the wider environmental factors which may pose a threat to children’s welfare and/ or safety. The Contextual Safeguarding model is recommended.
In response to the guidance on Children Missing Education and a number of incidents where children died following their parent’s death in the home, it is identified as good practice that ‘where reasonably possible’ schools and colleges should hold more than one emergency contact for each child. The legal requirement remains one.
Transfer of records
There is an emphasis on the importance of information sharing and multi-agency work. It is emphasised that the Data Protection Act is not a barrier to information sharing.
Safeguarding records should continue to be shared with new schools and colleges and the DSL should consider sharing information with a new school before a child leaves. The responsibility is placed on the new school to ensure that the information is then shared with the relevant key staff.
This needs to be taught as part a board and balanced curriculum and wider teaching about safeguarding. Also, schools are required not only to think about filtering and monitoring within school, but how children access the internet in school using 3G and 4G networks.
Looked after children
KCSIE 2018 comes in line with the Children and Social Work Act 2017 by including previously looked after children in this category and refers to the new statutory guidance in this area. Staff should have the knowledge, skills and understanding to keep looked after children safe. This might be a training issue for some schools.
It is recognised that ‘no contact’ policies leave staff unable to fully support and protect children. There is an acceptance that force, but ‘no more force than is needed’ may be required on occasions to safeguard children and manage incidents. The emphasis is on the use of individual behaviour plans supported by national guidance.
Risk Assessments for Volunteers
Schools should undertake a risk assessment when deciding if to apply for an enhanced DBS for volunteers and record the details.
Where a school places a child in an alternative provision, they remain responsible for their safeguarding, so need to be satisfied that the alternative provision is able to meet their needs. The provider should provide written confirmation that the appropriate safeguarding checks have been completed on all those working with them.
The term ‘homestay’ has been added to Annex E and a clarification about the need for DBS checks for UK host families for exchange visits.
Actions for schools
• Update your policy to reflect KCSIE, including checking does it refer to:
o Additional vulnerabilities of children with SEND
o Peer on peer abuse including Child on child sexual violence and sexual harassment
o Children and the court system (as witnesses)
o Children with family members in prison
o Child criminal exploitation: county lines
o Contextual safeguarding
o The role of the Deputy DSL
o Use of Reasonable Force
• If you are in a MAT, each school must have its own safeguarding policy. Though a MAT can have a shared Single Central List/ Record, it must be available in each institution.
The SCR can be either electronic or paper.
• Consider how information is shared with new schools and colleges and if information needs to be shared by the DSL before a child leaves. I would recommend that you record what information is shared, when and who with.
• Update your training, so that both staff Induction and Whole School Staff Training in September are fully up to date. See below for a list of suggestions for changes.
• Ensure that an explanation of the Behaviour policy is included in staff induction.
• Check your DSL is a member of the leadership team
• Check that you hold more than one emergency contact for each child and that the number is up to date.
• In September ensure all staff read KCSIE Part 1 and sign that they have read and understood it. KCSIE says that Annex A should be read by all staff who work directly with children, so that should be added to Part 1 for these purposes.
Consider if you wish to extend this to regular volunteers and other visitors.
• Check the Designated teacher for Looked After Children and other staff are up to date with the 2018 guidance in this area. Do you include ‘previously looked after’ in your work in this area? How they getting the support they need?
• Review your policy for the use of reasonable force, including the use of individual behaviour plans
• Consider how the school risk assesses DBS applications for volunteers. I feel this should be part of a wider piece of work considering
o how safer recruitment is applied to volunteers
o if volunteers are asked for references
o what training and induction in safeguarding they receive and when is this updated.
o should regular volunteers be asked to read and sign KCSIE Part 1 and Annex A
• Consider how you cover online safety in your wider curriculum and how you evidence this.
Suggested Changes to your induction and whole school safeguarding training
Check your Induction Training includes:
• The role of the DSL and their deputies
• Behaviour policy
• Safeguarding response to children missing from education
Check your whole school safeguarding includes:
• Emphasis on an immediate response to concerns and speaking to the DSL
• Information on the increased vulnerabilities of children with SEND
• Peer on peer abuse including an emphasis on child on child sexual violence and sexual harassment (Part 5 and Annex A)
• Children and the court system (as witnesses)
• Children with family members in prison
• Child criminal exploitation: County lines and the need to refer concerns to the National Referral Mechanism
• Homelessness- the risk and impact on children and where appropriate the risks to 16 and 17 year olds living outside their family
• Clarity about Early Help- what it is, when it might be used and the school’s role.
• Contextual safeguarding
• ‘Previously looked after’ in the definition of Looked after children and its implications
Consider some focused training on the needs of Looked after children, including issues relating to attachment and its implication for behaviour, if you have not covered this in recent staff training.
- For detailed line by line identification of all changes, I would recommend the NSPCC.
- The DfE’s GDPR Toolkit for School makes it clear that GDPR is not a barrier for information sharing in regards to safeguarding.
- The new guidance on Looked after children includes guidance on the Role of the Designated teacher and guidance on Promoting the education of Looked after children.