Keeping Children Safe in Education September 2023 (DfE)
1. Inform job applicants about online searches
Last year a notable update to KCSIE was the recommendation that schools carry out online searches of job candidates to “identify any incidents or issues that have happened, and are publicly available online, which the school or college might want to explore with the applicant at interview”.
For 2023, the guidance states explicitly in paragraph 221 on page 55 that “schools and colleges should inform shortlisted candidates that online searches may be done as part of due diligence checks”.
Please refer to HR Safeguarding advice on this and ensure that you are recording any checks on the Single Central Record.
2. Filtering and monitoring
There are three notable changes regarding online filtering and monitoring software used by schools to keep tabs on what sites pupils are visiting or trying to visit:
- Paragraph 103 on page 28 contains new text making it clear that the Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) has responsibility for “understanding the filtering and monitoring systems and processes in place” as part of their remit.
- Paragraph 124 on page 32 expressly notes that “an understanding of the expectations, applicable roles and responsibilities in relation to filtering and monitoring” should be included in safeguarding and child protection training at induction for all staff.
- Paragraph 138 on page 36 states a school’s child protection policy should include how appropriate filtering and monitoring technology on school devices and school networks links in with its child protection duties. The CAPH CP Policy will be updated to reflect this.
3. Allegations against agencies or individuals from external providers
Another new element of the guidance is found in paragraph 377 on page 91, which details how schools should handle any allegations made against an outside organisations or individual using school premises.
The guidance says this could relate to the school premises being used by community groups, sports associations or any service providers that run extracurricular activities.
The advice simply states: “As with any safeguarding allegation, schools and colleges should follow their safeguarding policies and procedures, including informing the LADO [local authority designated officer].”
4. Don’t Keep DBS Certificates
One small change, but not new information is found in paragraph 276, which states: “Schools and colleges do not have to keep copies of DBS certificates in order to fulfil the duty of maintaining the single central record.”
This is not new wording but the bolding of those three words is new and suggests that schools were unclear before whether this was required or not.
5. New standards references
Finally, some sections have been updated with links to new guidance that the DfE has published since the last KCSIE update to help schools in certain areas.
For example, paragraph 144 on page 38, which focuses on cyber security standards, suggests schools should work to meet the cyber security standards for schools and colleges
Then on page 167 there is a new link to guidance on keeping children safe in out-of-school settings that can help schools ensure that providers using their facilities adhere to necessary safeguarding requirements.
RECAP of changes to KCSIE 2022 to continue to bear in mind and ensure your policies, practices and training continue to reflect these:
- Safeguarding training for governors (part 2, page 23)
There is a new emphasis on all governors receiving appropriate safeguarding training in order to provide effective safeguarding challenge to settings. There is no guidance as to the level and type of training, but I advise education settings to ensure that whatever training they receive, it’s tailored to ensure that governors fully understand their strategic role in ensuring that settings are safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children.
Please contact governor services for information on current safeguarding training for governors.
2. Governors’ obligations under the Equality Act 2010 and Human Rights Act 1998 (paragraph 82, page 24)
In line with increasing responsibility for governors, the document now includes several new paragraphs detailing the responsibility of governors and proprietors to not only be aware of these acts, but to ensure that school policies and procedures operate in line with the rights of children and families within them.
- The role of the appropriate adult during police investigations (annex, page 162)
This is an important piece of information that could easily be missed in the annex section. More than likely this has come up as a result of the Child Q Safeguarding Practice Review and refers to the PACE Code C 2019, which details that children under investigation by the police should have access to an appropriate adult to "support, advise and assist" the young person, and also "observe whether the police are acting properly and fairly to respect [the young person's] rights and entitlements, and inform an officer of the rank of inspector or above if they consider that they are not".
The appropriate adult would usually be the child’s parents/carers, social worker or other agency worker. Schools/settings should ensure that the appropriate adult is present for any police investigation at school, and that they are in no doubt as to their role.
- Further detail regarding the effect of domestic abuse on children (page 10, page 14)
Domestic abuse has been added to the indicators of abuse and neglect, with further emphasis on all forms of domestic abuse. There is also further detail on the impact of domestic abuse on victims (NB children are now legally viewed as victims of DA even if they are not directly abused), and the potential long-term effects of domestic abuse on children.
The increase in emphasis on domestic abuse and the impact on children has undoubtedly come as a result of the current spotlight in the increase in domestic abuse reports since the start of the pandemic, as well as the changes in the Domestic Abuse Act 2021, which now legally views children as victims of domestic abuse if they see or hear domestic abuse and are related to any of the adults involved.
For free domestic abuse and sexual violence training for staff, please contact: email@example.com
- Peer on peer abuse is now being referred to as child on child abuse throughout the document
This ensures consistency in all guidance, and clarity that the term refers to children. Please make sure that all documentation, policies and procedures are updated to use the term “child on child”.
- Low level concerns (paragraph 422, page 99)
There is further emphasis on schools needing to have policies and processes in place for reporting, recording and responding to low level concerns.
I advise all schools and settings to put in place a low level concerns policy, and ensure that all staff are aware of the policy and processes for reporting.
- Preventative Education (page 33)
New emphasis is placed here on the importance of the RSHE curriculum for teaching safeguarding. This includes preparing students for life in modern Britain by educating them on a zero tolerance approach to racism, sexism, homophobia, misogyny and sexual violence/sexual harassment. There is also emphasis on preventative education running as a thread through the whole curriculum.
- Links to new resources
Links have been added to the following resources, on top of the existing links in the document:
- A video on supporting children who are victims of sexual abuse.
- A link to South West Grid for Learning, a charity that provides support regarding abuse and technology, and The Marie Collins Foundation, a harmful-sexual-behaviour support service.
- A county lines toolkit for professionals.
- Government guidance on forced marriage.
- LGFL "Undressed" - a website that features a video and song that schools can use to teach young children about the risk of being tricked into getting undressed online