The Department for Education has now published the updated version of Keeping Children Safe In Education, which will come into effect on 1 September 2022. Schools will be relieved to hear that this year’s changes have not been as substantial as last year’s.
However, as ever, it is crucial that schools get to grips with this year’s changes in good time before the start of the autumn term, and this article considers some of the main changes in this year’s update.
KCSIE 2022 – what’s changed?
The guidance contains a new section on schools’ obligations under the Human Rights Act, the Equality Act and under their local multi-agency safeguarding arrangements. Schools were, of course, already required to comply with these obligations, but these new paragraphs help to clarify what these obligations really mean for schools.
A sharper focus on preventative education
There is now more detailed guidance on the opportunities to teach safeguarding and the need for preventative education to be taught within the context of a whole school approach to safeguarding and a clear set of values that underpin all aspects of school life. The guidance clarifies that relevant topics need to be included in RE, RSE and RSHE. It also reiterates the need for preventative education to take place within a culture of zero tolerance for sexism, misogyny/misandry, homophobia, biphobia and sexual violence/harassment.
Additional training for governors
The updated guidance makes clear the need for governors to receive training in safeguarding and child protection. The rationale behind this is that the training is needed for governors to be able to assess whether their school’s policies and procedures are effective and whether they support the delivery of a robust whole school approach to safeguarding.
Online searches when shortlisting candidates
One of the new recommendations is that as part of the due diligence process for shortlisting candidates, schools should carry out online searches to help identify any incidents or issues that may make the candidate unsuitable to work with children.
This is a recommendation, rather than a requirement, but it is nevertheless advisable that from September schools do undertake such checks, and many may in fact already be doing so.
An Appropriate Adult during police investigations
The updated guidance contains provision relating to the need for children to have an Appropriate Adult during police investigations. This has been incorporated into the guidance in the wake of the revelations relating to the police’s treatment of Child Q.
The requirements relating to an Appropriate Adult are not new, however the reference to them in the updated guidance emphasises the importance of schools ensuring the proper processes are followed in the event that pupils are the subject of a police investigation.
Time limits when transferring a pupil’s child protection file
The new guidance really spells out the need to comply with the time limits when transferring a pupil’s child protection file to their new school. This is already a requirement in the current version of KCSIE, but the new version has been updated to ensure consistency throughout the KCSIE guidance. Schools must therefore be careful to ensure that when a pupil moves to a new school, the child protection file is transferred as soon as possible, and in any event within 5 days for an in-year transfer or within the first 5 days of a new term.
Increased focus on domestic abuse
The increased prevalence of, and awareness of, domestic abuse following lockdown is reflected in the new guidance. A new paragraph has been added into the guidance on domestic abuse and the impact this may have on pupils, as well as new guidance on domestic abuse in the section relating to the indicators of abuse.
Low level concerns
The 2021 KCSIE included a substantial new section on how schools should manage concerns or allegations that do not meet the harm threshold. This year, the update clarifies that it is essential schools have policies and processes in place stipulating how these “low level” concerns will be managed and recorded, and to ensure appropriate action is taken in relation to any such concerns.
The Everyone’s Invited movement and the increased awareness of bullying over the last few years have resulted in schools increasing their focus on peer-on-peer abuse. The updated guidance seeks to clarify exactly what is meant by “peer-on-peer” abuse in schools by re-labelling it as “child-on-child” abuse.
How Moore Barlow can help
The importance of getting safeguarding right cannot be overemphasised. Schools therefore need to make sure their policies are up to date, that they are understood by everyone and that they are actually being followed.
Do get in touch if you would like us to review your safeguarding policies and procedures, or to incorporate these latest updates to the statutory guidance contained in KCSIE.