On 14 December 2017, the government issued a consultation to seek views on proposed changes to Keeping Children Safe in Education, the statutory guidance to which all schools must have regard. The purpose of the changes is to help schools better understand their legal obligations when carrying out safeguarding duties.

In summary, the key changes include:

  • Additional advice regarding sexual violence and sexual harassment between children in schools and colleges.
  • Additional information on early help and what staff should do when they have concerns about a child.
  • Additional information regarding children missing education and confirmation that where reasonably possible, schools should hold more than one emergency contact number.
  • Making a link between children with SEND and considerations regarding restraint.
  • Additional guidance about when DBS checks are required, when an enhanced DBS certificate is not required, and clarity about section 128 barring decisions and DBS checks for academy trusts.
  • Clarity about obtaining DBS checks for UK host families who provide homestay to pupils during exchange visits.
  • Further detail about the role of a school’s designated safeguarding lead.
  • Clarity about the minimum information that must be recorded on the single central record and that multi academy trusts do not need to maintain a separate single central record for each school.
  • Additional guidance about checking employment history and references.
  • Further information on 'county lines', domestic abuse and preventing radicalisation.
  • Confirmation that all schools and colleges should have their own individual child protection policy to reflect local procedures/protocols (i.e. not just one by a proprietor of multiple schools).
  • Additional information to explain the use of the Teacher Services system in relation to teacher status and prohibitions/sanctions etc.

Working Together to Safeguard Children is being consulted on separately and any resulting revisions to the final version will be reflected in KCSIE.

Should you wish to give feedback on the proposed amendments, you can visit the Department for Education’s consultation page here before the consultation closes on 22 February 2018. The consultation specifically asks for feedback on the further clarification as regards the single central record, whether further changes to the online safety section need to be made, and on the effectiveness of the sexual violence and sexual harassment advice.

The results of the consultation and the government’s response are due to be published in early summer 2018 and the amended guidance is proposed to come into effect from September 2018.