Keeping Children Safe in Education (2020)
24th August 2020
Hi, as we speedily approach the new academic year, understandably many of us are still feeling a little uneasy. Guidance around the reopening of schools remains ‘a bit up in the air’ and how things are going to look and work, we are still not entirely sure. These are strange times indeed but as always you will endeavour to do the best for the children in your care.
In July, I delivered a free webinar summarising the updated KCSiE 2020 (draft) guidance. I thought it may be useful for me to send out a briefing of the changes for all those who were unable to join in with the session, to help support with the implementation of safeguarding arrangements from September. The final version of the guidance is due to be published 1st September 2020. Once it has been released we will be sending it out via our social media platforms; twitter, facebook and linkedIn, as well as being available on our website.
My aim of this information bulletin is to summarise the main changes and allow you to focus on the areas that may relate to your setting. To support you further you can find a ‘Summary of Changes and suggested Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy checklist and a PDF of the webinar slides HERE
Following the cancellation of the formal consultation in March 2020, the DfE have updated this minimised guidance which looks to focus on changes in the three areas below:
- Where legislation requires it e.g. reflecting mandatory legislation RE, RSE & HE
- To add helpful information e.g. around mental health, domestic abuse, CCE & CCE
- To provide important clarification
However, I would still highly recommend reading to consultation document as this may give you an indicator of some future updates.
Religious Education, Relationship and Sex Education and Health Education
The changes to the new curriculum with regards RE, RSE and HE means it becomes compulsory from September 2020, to help children understand abusive and toxic relationships, talking about the red flags that may appear. Additions of information were also made, to support schools in protecting their pupils in areas such as mental health, domestic abuse and child criminal and sexual exploitation. This new information highlights the schools’ responsibilities to help children talk about these issues, as well as signs that indicate to education staff where action may be needed, if it is – or could become – a safeguarding issue. Schools should start teaching from that date if they meet statutory requirements. However, if schools are not ready, or are unable to meet requirements, they should begin teaching by at least the start of summer term.
Definition of Safeguarding
The definition of safeguarding has changed and now includes: ‘preventing impairment of children’s mental and physical health or development’.
The Voyeurism (Offences) Act
Came into force 12th April 2019 and references ‘Upskirting’ in the definition. Changes to the 2019 guidance has made it clear, staff should be made fully aware of The Voyeurism (Offences) Act and ‘Upskirting’ is now viewed as a criminal offence and must be dealt with accordingly by schools.
Children who have Social Workers
Recognises the vulnerability of these children and provides links to What Works in Education for Children who have Social Workers. In addition, it refers to the Children in Need review, which clearly identified the poor outcomes of children who need a social worker. This guidance has expanded the responsibilities of the DSL role to:
- Help promote educational outcomes and share information about the welfare, safeguarding and child protection issues children are experiencing, or have experienced, with teachers and SLT
- Ensure that the school and their staff
- know who these children are
- understand their academic progress and attainment
- maintain a culture of high aspirations
- support teaching staff to identify the challenges they might face
- the additional academic support and adjustments that they could make to best support these children
- Propose increasing their training and involvement around supporting this group of children.
DSL Role and Responsibilities
Have been expanded to include:
- Should work closely with senior mental health leads
- Attend training to ensure they have a good understanding of their own role, processes, procedures, and responsibilities of other agencies, particularly Children’s Social Care
- Promote educational outcomes with increased level of engagement & co-ordination for children with social workers, as above
- Understand mental health correlation with safeguarding concerns
- Clarity around child protection files rules and they apply to in-year transfers
- LA should share that a child has a social worker with the DSL
- Additional training should be considered to allow for delegation of work to other (non-safeguarding) responsibilities
- Unfortunately, Effective Safeguarding Supervision of DSL’s has been dropped from the guidance. However, it is still a requirement under the Inspecting Framework and in Working Together to Safeguard Children
Whole new section on mental health, ACE and schools responsibilities on establishing reporting and monitoring systems, both within school and with external agencies and that all staff should be aware that mental health problems can, in some cases, be an indicator that a child has suffered or is at risk of suffering abuse, neglect of exploitation and its correlation with safeguarding. Stresses the role that schools play in detecting possible problems and supporting good mental wellbeing.
Provides links to advice and guidance such as Mental Health and Behaviour in Schools which sets out the best practice in this area and Public Health England’s guidance on Promoting Children and Young People’s Emotional Health and Wellbeing. Confirms DfE is providing funding to support the costs of a significant training programme for senior mental health leads (available to all state schools by 2025), as well as the national rollout of the Mental Health Services and Schools and College Link Programme.
Managing Allegations of Abuse made against Teachers, Other Staff, including Supply Teachers and Volunteers
- Updated to state allegations now change to ‘safeguarding concerns & allegations’
- Change in allegation criteria: allegations made against staff who have ‘behaved or may have behaved in a way that indicates they may not be suitable to work with children’
- Responsibility for schools to appropriately manage allegations around supply teachers and should ‘take the lead’ on investigations
- Stresses in no circumstances should a school decide to cease to use a supply teacher due to safeguarding concerns, without finding out the facts, liaising with LADO to determine a suitable outcome
- School’s disciplinary policies and procedures around managing allegations should be provided to supply agencies and school should work with the agencies
When to Call the Police
Provides a link to the National Police Chief’s Council (NPCC) a useful guidance which details what actions should be taken by schools for:
- Criminal Damage
- Cyber Crime
- Sexual Offences
Updated clarity around the definition of private fostering and the duty to report to the local authority.
Possible Training Requirements to Consider
- Whole School Safeguarding & Child Protection
- Child Sexual Exploitation and Child Criminal Exploitation Training (CSE & CCE)
- Children with Social Workers
- DSL New to Role, DSL 2 Yearly Update
- Mental Health Champion/Leads
- Behaviour Changes/Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE)
- Information sharing Inc. Child Protection Files
- Effective Safeguarding Supervision
I do hope that this summary has helped you to focus on what safeguarding arrangement changes may be required for the new academic year and that the Summary of Changes Action Checklist and KCSiE Update Handout are useful tools!.
As always, do not hesitate to contact us if we can be of any support or help you with your safeguarding training requirements for either onsite or virtual delivery. Or call Lesley on 01274 752299 for a no obligation chat.
Click HERE for our upcoming training sessions and dates and remember all our courses are available for private delivery.