DfE publishes updated version of Keeping Children Safe in Education

Earlier this month, the DfE published an updated version of Keeping Children Safe In Education (KCSIE) and this will come into effect on 1 September 2023.  

Key changes include:

The section dealing with filtering and monitoring has been expanded at paragraph 142, referencing the filtering and monitoring standards published in March 2023 – Department for Education published Filtering and Monitoring Standards. The standards support schools in meeting their duty to have appropriate/effective filtering and monitoring systems in place. In addition to aspects of both filtering and monitoring systems, these standards provide that schools should

  • identify and assign roles and responsibilities to manage filtering and monitoring systems 
  • review filtering and monitoring provision at least annually
  • block harmful and inappropriate content without unreasonably impacting teaching and learning 
  • have effective monitoring strategies in place that meet their safeguarding needs
  • be checking their filtering and monitoring provision at least annually.  

Staff training recommendations

Staff training (and training for governors) should include understanding expectations, roles and responsibilities in relation to filtering and monitoring (paragraph 124) and this should also apply to school devices and networks (paragraph 138). The point to take away from this is that online safety and responsibility for filtering and monitoring is not just a matter for a school’s IT team. It is a whole school responsibility with lead responsibility resting with the DSL. The guidance provides that harmful and inappropriate content should be blocked without unreasonably impacting teaching and learning. 

Review of safeguarding policies

We recommend that schools review and update their safeguarding policies to include these changes, before they take effect in September. As well as this, all staff who work with children need to be clear about their responsibilities. This will be especially so in boarding schools.

  • The new guidance speaks about ‘Children who are absent from education’ (new title at paragraph 175 in place of ‘Children missing from education’) which is broader than the previous title. The point is made that if children are absent, this may be a warning sign of a range of safeguarding concerns (including child criminal and sexual exploitation).
  • Use of school premises for non-school activities – there is further clarity around the safeguarding arrangements that schools should expect providers (hirers) to have in place in accordance with the non-statutory guidance for providers running out-of-school settings on keeping children safe (paragraph 167). 
  • There is a new heading ‘Organisations or Individuals using school premises’ which provides guidance on how schools should respond to an allegation relating to an incident that happened when an individual or organisation was using their school premises for the purposes of running activities for children (for example community groups, sports associations, or service providers that run extra-curricular activities). It is made clear that schools should follow their safeguarding policies and procedures, including informing the LADO, when this is appropriate (paragraph 377).  They cannot simply rely on the activity provider doing so.
  • The guidance around carrying out online searches against shortlisted candidates now also provides that schools should inform shortlisted candidates that online pre-appointment searches will be carried out as part of due diligence checks.

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