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This version of Keeping Children Safe in Education came into force in September 2018. It revises and replaces the September 2016 guidance.

The current set of amendments and updates build on the previous guidance and contain a number of changes – some of which represent a change of emphasis and others that are more substantive.

It uses the terms ‘’must’’ and ‘’should’’ throughout. It clarifies that the term “must” is used when the person in question is legally required to do something and “should” when the advice set out should be followed unless there is good reason not to.

The guidance itself makes clear in Annex H what the changes are from September 2016 and the NSPCC has a detailed briefing for education professionals, governing bodies and proprietors of schools.

The guidance is aligned with Working Together 2018 and with the General Data Protection Regulations.

This Briefing is designed to make professionals who are not working in schools aware of the changes and requirements for school staff, governors and management bodies in order that they may respond to any changes in referrals or processes within or from schools.

The Keeping Children Safe in Education 2018 (KCSIE) guidance makes explicit that: ‘’Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is everyone’s responsibility.’ It states clearly: ‘’Everyone who comes into contact with children and their families has a role to play. In order to fulfil this responsibility effectively, all practitioners should make sure their approach is child-centred. This means that they should consider, at all times, what is in the best interests of the child.’’

Key Changes to the Guidance

Part One

There is additional information about children who might benefit from early help i.e.

  • Is disabled and has specific additional needs;
  • Has special educational needs (whether or not they have a statutory education, health and care plan);
  • Is a young carer;
  • Is frequently missing/goes missing from care or home;
  • Is misusing drugs or alcohol;
  • Is in a family circumstance presenting challenges for the child, such as substance abuse, adult mental health problems or domestic abuse; and/or
  • Has returned home to their family from care”.

As well as general information about safeguarding it highlights (in annex (A)) that All staff should be aware that safeguarding issues can manifest themselves via peer on peer abuse. This is most likely to include, but may not be limited to, bullying (including cyberbullying), sexual violence, sexual harassment and sexting. All staff should be clear as to the school or college’s policy and procedures with regards to peer on peer abuse.

Part Two

A new paragraph has been added regarding children missing education – schools should hold more than one emergency contact number for each pupil (para 55).

Peer on Peer abuse: “All staff should recognise that children are capable of abusing their peers. All staff should be clear about their school or college’s policy and procedures with regard to peer on peer abuse.”

Previously Looked After Children: there are new requirements regarding safeguarding previously looked after children i.e. children who have been adopted, are subject to an SGO or a Placement Order. Governing bodies and proprietors of schools must ensure that appropriate staff have the information they need in relation to a ‘child’s looked after legal status…. and the child’s contact arrangements.’

“A previously looked after child potentially remains vulnerable and all staff should have the skills, knowledge and understanding to keep previously looked after children safe. When dealing with looked after children and previously looked after children, it is important that all agencies work together and prompt action is taken on concerns to safeguard these children, who are a particularly vulnerable group”. (para 100)

There is a new section (Part 5) on child on child sexual violence and sexual harassment.

This section covers issues such as:

  • How schools should respond to sexual violence or sexual harassment, making clear that there should be training regarding these matters and systems and policies relating to them in place;
  • Schools should be undertaking risk assessments following reports of incidents of sexual violence or sexual harassment;
  • Schools should be clear about the actions needed to support victims AND alleged perpetrators of sexual violence or sexual harassment.

Schools should consider:

  • The wishes of the victim in terms of how they want to proceed;
  • The nature of the alleged incident;
  • The ages of the children involved;
  • The development stages of the children involved;
  • Any power imbalance between the children;
  • Is the incident a one-off or a sustained pattern of abuse;
  • Are there ongoing risks to the victim, other children, school or college staff;
  • Contextual safeguarding issues.

The guidance suggests there are four options to consider when managing any such issues:

  1. Manage internally – the school manages incidents
  2. Early help – multi-agency early help
  3. Referrals to children’s social care
  4. Reporting to the police – in parallel to children’s social care

Annex A: Further Information

This section has advice and a series of links offering more detailed guidance in relation to a variety of issues such as:

Children and the Court System
Children Missing from Education
Children with Family Members in Prison
Child Criminal Exploitation – County Lines
Domestic Abuse
So Called ‘Honour-based’ Violence
FGM and Mandatory Reporting for Teachers
Forced Marriage
Preventing Radicalisation

Overall the guidance is comprehensive and clear. It should be referred to if there are any concerns about the safeguarding of a child in need or a looked after or previously looked after child in school.

Related Guidance and Links

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