On 14 December 2017, the Department for Education released two safeguarding guidance documents. One was the consultation for the new revised version of the statutory guidance ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ for September 2018, the other is non statutory guidance entitled ‘Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment between children in schools and colleges’ (or what can be known as ‘peer on peer’ or simply ‘peer’ abuse).
Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSIE) sets out the legal duties that schools and colleges (and other registered settings) must comply with, together with good practice guidance on what schools and colleges should do in order to keep children safe. Reviews to this key document seem to be happening on an annual basis, and as it is a crucial document that all staff are asked to be made aware of during their Induction, it’s critical that we all aim to keep up to speed.
Or you can have a read below of my checklist which will give you some idea of what changes are imminent in the document. The new KCSIE:
- sets out more information on the importance of early help
- clarifies responsibilities of staff when they have concerns about a child
- includes a new online safety section to help to protect children online
- includes summary of new advice on peer on peer abuse (relating to the new guidance)
- makes clear the differences between prohibitions, directions, sanctions and restrictions within recruitment, when they would prevent an individual from being employed in a particular roles and how they can be made
- gives additional guidance to emphasise the importance of confirming employment history, including exploring the reason(s) for any gaps or inconsistencies, and why the individual left their previous employment
replaces references to the Local Safeguarding Children Board with ‘local multi-agency safeguarding arrangements’ as required to reflect forthcoming changes in ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children’ (as I set out in my previous newsletter)
- makes clear that information about the role of the DSL given to staff during Induction should include actually who the DSL is, and the identity of any deputies
- adds links and information relating to domestic abuse, county lines and sexual violence and sexual harassment
- clarifies that MATs do not need to maintain separate Single Central Records for each school.
In terms of new responsibilities and actions, schools and colleges:
- must go beyond the legal minimum requirement to hold one emergency contact number for children (where reasonably possible) to address safeguarding concerns of children missing in education
- can record non-mandatory information on the Single Central Record (SCR) if they choose to do so (for instance, any training undertaken)
- can keep a paper or an electronic record form of an SCR
- can now, when seeking references, request information on any unsubstantiated allegations (but not false or malicious allegations), which should help a new employer being able to consider potential patterns in behaviour, should an allegation of a similar nature emerge in future
- should have their own individual child protection policy reflecting local circumstances, procedures and protocols (even if a proprietor of a multiple schools has its own overarching child protection policy).
- should consider offering training on online safety and SEND for designated safeguarding leads.
- should ensure that deputy DSLs in line with DSL have their role explicitly set out in any job description.
- must minimise the risk of harm to children taking part in school exchange visits, by carrying out enhanced DBS and barred list checks on UK host (homestay) families and work with partner schools/colleges abroad to ensure satisfactory safeguarding arrangements are in place (DBS will process without charge)
- should ensure that safeguarding and welfare concerns are taken into account when restraint is used on children with SEND
- should ensure that, in sole proprietor owned schools, the DSL can perform their duties with ‘sufficient independence’ from the proprietor and their family by, for example, writing into the job description that they may need to call the LADO for advice; and that such schools should consider engaging external safeguarding consultants to support them.
The consultation asks for opinions on further clarity about the contents of the SCR, references and on carrying out overseas checks (see my previous email on this for more context). The consultation also asks for comments about the length of the document.
Click here to contribute to the consultation and to read the new proposed guidance (consultation period ends on 22nd February 2018).
The much-needed new guidance on sexual violence and harassment between children deserves its own newsletter, but in the meantime here is the link: