The new version of Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSIE) will come into force on 1 September 2022. Many of the changes are minor. Nevertheless, governors and schools should be clear now on the most important changes, summarised below, and take proactive measures to ensure compliance for the upcoming academic year.
All governors and trustees should receive appropriate safeguarding and child protection training
- All governors and trustees should receive appropriate safeguarding and child protection training at induction, to equip them with the knowledge to provide strategic challenge and to be sure that safeguarding policies and procedures are effective.
- Their training should be regularly updated.
Support for children who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or trans (LGBT)
- The fact that a child may be LGBT is not an inherent risk factor for harm, but children who are (or perceived to be) LGBT can be targeted by other children.
- It is vital that staff endeavour to reduce additional barriers faced by children who are LGBT, and provide a safe space for children to speak out and share their concerns.
- Schools play a crucial role in preventative education, which is most effective when adopting a whole-school approach that creates a culture of zero tolerance for homophobia.
- Governing bodies should be doing all they reasonably can to limit children's exposure to risks from a school's IT system.
- This includes ensuring that effective filters and monitoring systems are in place, that staff have an awareness of the provisions in place, and the knowledge to escalate concerns when identified.
- Governing bodies should consider the proportionality of costs of such systems versus safeguarding risks.
Sexual violence, sexual harassment and child-on-child abuse
- The Department for Education's standalone guidance on sexual violence and sexual harassment is is now fully absorbed into KCSIE.
- Children should understand that the law on child-on-child abuse is in place to protect them, not to criminalise them.
- Children who have experienced sexual violence may display a wide range of responses, and schools should remain alert to the challenges of detecting those responses and sensitive to the needs of the child, including about attendance in lessons.