Keeping children safe in Education – Revised statutory guidance

The new Keeping Children Safe in Education ("KCSiE") statutory guidance comes into force next week on 1st September, including various changes some of which will require action by schools/colleges. Until September 1st, KCSiE 2019 must still be adhered to, but the new KCSiE guidance can be found here with a full table of substantive changes from KCSiE 2019 found at Annex H.

With schools and colleges currently on school holidays, there is already considerable additional planning for new term as a result of the pandemic which the proposed changes here add to. Below we have set out the key changes so that schools and colleges have as much time as possible to think about the substantive changes required and can update any policies accordingly.

Key changes

Part One and Annex A

New paragraphs have been added to Part One and Annex A which include further detail on child criminal exploitation and child sexual exploitation (paragraph 28), and paragraphs 34-38 which cover Mental Health.

Part 2

  • Paragraph 70 where a link has been added 'when to call the police guidance'.
  • A new data protection toolkit has been added in Paragraph 86
  • Paragraphs 101 and 102 have been updated to make it clear that schools are required to have processes in place to manage all concerns about staff and follow the guidance set out in Part 4.
  • (Note also the section encouraging schools and colleges to raise the profile of and make the link between mental health and safeguarding (paragraphs 113-116).

Part Four

Paragraph 211: Under paragraph 211 in Part Four an additional bullet point has been added which widens the scope of the guidance beyond allegations that relate directly to behaviour towards children. This section now reads:

“211. This part of the guidance is about managing cases of allegations that might indicate a person would pose a risk of harm if they continue to work in regular or close contact with children in their present position, or in any capacity with children in a school, academy trust or college. This guidance should be followed where it is alleged that anyone working in the institution that provides education for children under 18 years of age, including supply teachers and volunteers has:

  • behaved in a way that has harmed a child, or may have harmed a child;
  • possibly committed a criminal offence against or related to a child;
  • behaved towards a child or children in a way that indicates he or she may pose a risk of harm to children; or
  • behaved or may have behaved in a way that indicates they may not be suitable to work with children.”

The reason for the addition of the fourth bullet point is 'transferrable risk', meaning "Where a member of staff or volunteer is involved in an incident outside of a school or college which did not involve children but could have an impact on their suitability to work with children.”

The example provided in the guidance is domestic violence incidents. When considering whether an allegation or incident should be dealt with under the fourth bullet point, three questions should be asked:

  1. What happened?
  2. Why did it happen?
  3. Could that same trigger be pulled in school?

If the answer to question three is 'yes', then there may be transferrable risk and the case may need to be managed as a safeguarding issue under this statutory guidance.

Clearly this has the potential to significantly increase the number of referrals made to the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) and may also impact on employment references and referrals to the Disclosure and Barring Service and Teaching Regulation Agency.

Paragraphs 214-217 – Supply staff

Paragraphs 214-217 provide additional guidance on managing allegations against supply staff. The key points are that schools/colleges should:

  • Ensure allegations are dealt with properly
  • Work with the LADO
  • Consider their contract terms with employment agencies
  • Share their managing allegations procedure with employment agencies
  • Invite employment agencies to meetings regarding allegations

The purpose of expanding guidance on supply staff is to prevent individuals who may be unsuitable to work with children being able to move from school to school without allegations or concerns being dealt with. The guidance is clear that schools, academy trusts and colleges should, under no circumstances, cease to use an agency staff member due to safeguarding concerns without finding out the facts and liaising with the LADO to determine a suitable outcome. Agencies are expected to cooperate with schools and colleges in this process.

Going forward

For schools and colleges to effectively manage the introduction of the updated KCSiE statutory guidance, there are five key points to look at:

  1. Amend ‘managing allegations’ policy to capture the transferable risk point discussed above and consider which other policies may require amendment;
  2. When allegations are made where there may be transferable risk, Part Four of the guidance should be followed;
  3. Managing allegations policies/procedures should be shared with agencies and agencies should be invited to relevant meetings;
  4. Agency contract terms should be reviewed;
  5. Staff should be made aware of the changes to the guidance and their understanding of the statutory guidance should be tested and evidence retained.

Making sure these points are implemented should mean there is a clear and structured direction for making the substantive changes that may be required and enable you to update policies and review contracts where necessary.

For further information

Please contact Tim Williamson in our Commercial Team if you have any queries or would like to discuss the implications of these changes.

Key Contacts