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Keeping children safe in education: guidance update

Changes to statutory KCSIE guidance are now in effect. Here, EduCare's Dawn Jotham outlines the key changes and what you need to do

Posted by Julian Owen | September 25, 2019 | People, policy, politics

Following updates last September, the Department for Education’s statutory guidance, ‘Keeping children safe in education’ (KCSIE) has been updated for 2019. 

Changes have been made to key safeguarding areas, such as serious violence and upskirting, with the latter now a criminal offence; knowledge of both of these issues is vital. 

Safeguarding and duty of care experts, EduCare, have taken a look at the key changes and advised on the ways in which you should ensure you are adhering to them. 

2019 KCSIE updates

Removal of the ‘Multi-agency safeguarding transitional arrangements’ section 

When KCSIE 2018 was being finalised, the details of the new local arrangements were in a period of transition, from Local Safeguarding Children Boards (LSCBs) and serious case reviews (SCRs) to a new system of multi-agency arrangements and local and national child safeguarding practice reviews. This period has now closed, and the transitional section removed. 

The new guidance from the Department for Education (DfE) focuses on three safeguarding partners: the local authority; a clinical commissioning group for an area within the local authority; and the chief officer of police in the local authority area. These partners will work together to safeguard and promote the welfare of local children needs. 

When a young person begins to show the signs of exploitation or vulnerability to exploitation, and therefore is at increased risk from serious violence, we should be able to intervene as early as possible to help reduce the risk factors and increase the protective factors

Changes to Part One  

This is the section which all staff working within an education setting must read to be compliant. To improve the flow of information, a number of paragraphs have been moved.  

Paragraph 27 - Peer on peer abuse 

Paragraph 27 has been relabelled to refer to ‘peer on peer abuse’ as a specific safeguarding issue. The advice remains the same: “All staff should be aware that safeguarding issues can manifest themselves via peer on peer abuse.” 

Upskirting 

Since 12 April 2019, upskirting has been a criminal offence in England and Wales. KCSIE 2019 has been updated to include it as an example of peer on peer abuse. 

The guidance says: “Upskirting typically involves taking a picture under a person’s clothing without them knowing, with the intention of viewing their genitals or buttocks to obtain sexual gratification, or cause the victim humiliation, distress or alarm.” 

Under the Voyeurism Act, upskirting offenders can now be arrested, face up to two years in prison and have their name placed on the sex offenders register. 

All staff should be aware of indicators, which may signal that children are at risk from, or are involved with serious violent crime

Serious violence 

Serious violence has now been added to KCSIE as a specific safeguarding issue, following the Serious Violence Strategy introduced by the Government in 2018. 

The strategy identifies offences such as homicides and knife and gun crime as key factors which account for around one percent of all recorded crime, and the impact they have on communities. 

KCSIE recognises that tackling serious crime is not just a law enforcement issue and requires intervention from a range of other areas, including education.  

The main areas the Serious Violence Strategy focuses on are:

 - Tackling county lines

 - Early intervention and prevention

 - Supporting communities and local partnerships

 - Effective law enforcement and the criminal justice response

The new guidance states: “All staff should be aware of indicators, which may signal that children are at risk from, or are involved with serious violent crime. These may include increased absence from school, a change in friendships or relationships with older individuals or groups, a significant decline in performance, signs of self-harm or a significant change in wellbeing, or signs of assault or unexplained injuries. Unexplained gifts or new possessions could also indicate that children have been approached by, or are involved with, individuals associated with criminal networks or gangs. All staff should be aware of the associated risks and understand the measures in place to manage these.” 

Early intervention is about recognising and responding to the indicators of potential vulnerability, providing early support that is effective.

When a young person begins to show the signs of exploitation or vulnerability to exploitation, and therefore is at increased risk from serious violence, we should be able to intervene as early as possible to help reduce the risk factors and increase the protective factors.

Changes to Part Two: the management of safeguarding 

Changes to personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education  

The paragraph on relationships education and relationships and sex education has been expanded to include the forthcoming changes to personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education, which will see the subjects specific to age groups become mandatory for schools operating under the DfE in 2020. 

Ofsted 2019 

With the new inspection framework being launched in September 2019, KCSIE has been updated to refer to the new Education Inspection Framework. 

Changes to Part Three: safer recruitment 

Individuals who have lived or worked outside the UK  

Due to forthcoming specific guidance relating to the employment of teachers trained overseas, the KCSIE wording in this area has been changed. In the meantime, the advice is to refer to gov.uk. 

Maintained school governors 

Paragraph 173 refers to the types of DBS checks required for school governors. This has been extended to recommend that schools carry out a section 128 check, used to check the names of individuals barred from being involved in the management or governance of independent schools, academies and free schools, under the terms of a direction made by the Secretary of State for Education. Individuals who are the subject of a Section 128 order are disqualified from being governors.  

Associate members  

A new paragraph has been added to make it clear that enhanced DBS checks are not mandatory for associate members.  

Annex A 

Annex A has been updated to communicate important additional information about specific forms of abuse and safeguarding issues. All staff in education settings who work directly with children should read this. 

‘So-called honour-based abuse’ 

The paragraph on ‘So-called honour-based abuse’ has been extended to clarify that female genital mutilation (FGM) and forced marriage are examples of honour-based abuse.

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