The Department for Education (DfE) recently released new updates for its Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSiE) guidelines, which regulate safeguarding and child protection to promote the welfare of children and young people for schools and colleges in England. Last month, we hosted a series of events with Services for Schools (S4S) that outlined the latest changes to the guidance, which came into effect on 1st September 2021. Below are a few highlights on the updated guidance; or, if you’d like to view the full event recording, watch it here.
Setting the stage: What is safeguarding?
KCSiE defines “safeguarding” as a term that is broader than ‘child protection’ and relates to the action taken to promote the welfare of children and protect them from harm. Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility.
There are 4 elements of safeguarding according to KCSiE:
- Protecting children from maltreatment
- Preventing impairment of children’s mental health and physical health or development
- Ensuring that children grow up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care
- Taking action to enable all children to have the best outcomes.
Child protection is a core part of safeguarding. It refers explicitly to protecting children who are suffering, or likely to suffer, significant harm.
What are the changes to KCSiE Part 1 and Annex B?
All school staff are required to read Part 1 of KCSiE and staff who don’t work directly with children must read Annex A of the guidance.
- 5 key changes in Part 1 of KCSiE guidance:
1 – Online safety, including added emphasis on technology. Online safety issues can be categorised into four areas of risk (called the 4 C’s):
- Content: being exposed to illegal and harmful content
- Contact: being subjected to harmful online interactions with other users, including commercial advertising and adults posing as children.
- Conduct: personal online harm
- Commerce: including online gambling and gaming
Abuse can happen online, offline, or both inside and outside of school. Children can also abuse their peers online.
- Additionally, a school’s policy should the school or college’s approach to consensual and non-consensual sharing of nude images and/or videos.
2 – New groups have been added to the list of pupils more likely to need early support. These groups are:
- Pupils with health conditions
- Pupils with mental health conditions
- Pupils with a family member in prison or who are affected by parental offending
- Pupils at risk of ‘honour-based abuse’ (FGM or forced marriage)
- Pupils who are persistently absent from school, including persistent absences for part of the school day
3 – Additional forms of peer-to-peer abuse have been added. The definition of “peer-to-peer abuse” has widened to include abuse in intimate personal relationships between peers.
4 – Risk factors that increase the likelihood of involvement in serious violence. The following risk factors have been included:
- Being male
- Being frequently absent or permanently excluded from school
- Having experienced child maltreatment
- Having been involved in crimes such as theft or robbery
5 – Emphasis that victims should be taken seriously. Further wording has been added to reinforce that potential for exploitation (criminal, sexual or otherwise) and child mental health issues are recognised as areas vulnerability and extra-familial harms. There are specific notes about what to do when a child discloses exploitation, as well as abuse or neglect.
New specific safeguarding issues that have been added to Annex B include:
i. Child abduction and community safety incidents
Child abduction can be committed by parents of other family members, by people known but not related to the child (like neighbours, friends and acquaintances), and by strangers. Community safety incidents are things like unknown adults loitering near schools or trying to talk to children. Always follow your school’s pick-up procedures to make sure children only go home with their designated adult(s).
ii. Modern slavery
- This includes human trafficking and slavery, forced or compulsory labor. Note that exploitation can take many forms, like sexual exploitation, forced labor, forced criminality and the removal of organs.
This is defined as criminal activity committed using computers and/or the internet. It includes activity such as hacking, creating and using malware such as viruses and ‘denial of service’ where a website is made unavailable.
About record keeping and disclosures
- As a reminder, disclosures can come in many forms and may not always be immediately after the abuse has taken place. Never do nothing – all staff should know what to do if a child tells them he/she is being abuse or neglected.
The school’s role is to recognise and refer abuse, not investigate. Here are some tips to help you listen fully to the child:
- Remain neutral and take the child seriously. Let the child lead the conversation
- Reassure the child that they have done the right thing telling you
- Ask open questions
- Reflect back what they are saying to check your understanding and do not promise confidentiality. Let the child know what you are going to do next
- Always report any concerns you have, no matter how small and as soon as possible
- If you think a child is in immediate danger, make a referral yourself, or call the police
Think: who, what, where, when
- Make notes as soon as possible after the incident or disclosure, including the date and time, who was there, and where it happened. Record the words said by you and the child in as much detail as possible and ensure the record is fact-based (without personal interpretation)
- Document any visible injuries, however insignificant
- Speak to the school DSL or DDSL and record the conversation and concerns. The DSL will decide what to do next
- ThinkuKnow has latest resources and support on tackling child sexual abuse
- Visit the NWG Network
- The NSPCC’s Learning website
- The CSA Centre resources on disclosure
- Impero Wellbeing is our fully cloud-based solution that was developed with the help of charitable organisations and non-profits from around the globe to create a real-time keyword detection tool that allows teachers to intervene early whenever a child is in danger. It is designed to help teachers keep a record of any concerns and help with early prevention. To learn more how Wellbeing and how it can help you and your school, book a demonstration here.
About the panelists
Andrew Skiffington started his career as a teacher and now has more than 15 years of experience in Education. He joined Impero as our Sales & Business Development Manager with the mission to support and create valuable relationship with schools and trusts around the country.
Sandra Wiseman has years of experience in the field of child protection and has built up a comprehensive knowledge of safeguarding and child protection practice. Formerly the Deputy Head Teacher/DSL at Mere Green Combined School and Albert Bradbeer Primary School, Sandra is now the Head Teacher/DSL and Prevent facilitator at Reaside Academy.
Watch the full webinar recording here: Back-to-School Webinar: Understanding KCSiE Safeguarding Updates 2021