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

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

As this comes just one year after the previous update, there are not a large number of changes.

However, there are references to key safeguarding issues such as upskirting, now that is has become a criminal offence, and also serious violence.

Knowledge of both of these issues is vital.

2019 KCSIE Updates

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

Whilst this section was included in KCSIE 2018, this entire section has now been removed. This is because when KCSIE 2018 was being finalised, the details of the new local arrangements were in a period of transition. However, this period has now closed. 

To support the 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, the Department for Education published Transitional Statutory Guidance. 

The new guidance from the Department for Education focuses on three safeguarding partners:

  1. The local authority
  2. A clinical commissioning group for an area within the local authority, and
  3. The chief officer of police for the police area in the local authority area.

These partners will work together to safeguard and promote the welfare of local children, including identifying and responding to their needs.

As the new local arrangements had to be published by the three safeguarding partners no later than 29th June 2019 and had to be in place no later than 29th September 2019, this would make KCSIE 2018 out of date.

Changes to Part One

Part One of KCSIE is the section which all staff working within an education setting must read to be compliant. 

To improve the flow of information and ensure that this is clear and well laid out, a number of paragraphs have been moved in Part One. 

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 though - “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. 

Due to upskirting now being classified as a crime, KCSIE 2019 has been updated to include it as an example of peer on peer abuse.

Upskirting is described in the following way by KCSIE - “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”.

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Under the Voyeurism Act, upskirting offenders can now be arrested, face up to 2 years in prison and have their name placed on the sex offenders register if caught upskirting. This includes instances where culprits say the images were taken just for a laugh.

In KCSIE 2018 we saw a need for schools to adapt and extend their child protection policies to refer to peer on peer abuse. Now there is an additional requirement to include reference specifically to upskirting.

What may seem like harmless fun can have deeper consequences for both the victim and the perpetrator and everyone should be made aware of this.

Serious violence

Serious violence has now been added to KCSIE as a specific safeguarding issue. 

The addition of serious violence to KCSIE comes after the Serious Violence Strategy was introduced by the government in 2018.

The Serious Violence 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 these crimes 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, education being one of these. 

The main areas that 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 KCSIE 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 are 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

Multi-agency working 

As discussed above, a three safeguarding partner approach is now being used instead of Local Safeguarding Children Boards (LSCBs).

Changes to Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) education 

The paragraph on Relationships Education and Relationships and Sex Education (formerly known as Sex and Relationship 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.

PSHE will also be a focus of change for many schools from September.

From September 2020 schools that operate under the DFE will be required to teach PSHE subjects and have regard to the statutory guidance. Schools are being actively encouraged and supported to teach these subjects from September 2019, if they don’t do so already.

PSHE subjects should be taught following the principles of keeping children safe and prepare children for the world they are growing up in. The content should always be age appropriate.

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 overseas trained teachers, the wording in KCSIE relating to this 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. 

A section 128 check is used to check the names of individuals who have been 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.

The government has recently consulted on a proposal to introduce a mandatory reporting duty on Forced Marriage. If implemented, this will mirror the duty already in place to report known cases of FGM.

Summary of changes to KCSIE 2019

The guidance provided above reflects the changes to KCSIE which came into effect as of 2nd September 2019. All educational organisations should now follow the 2019 KCSIE guidance. 

In order to ensure your organisation is prepared for the new guidance, you will need to consider the above and how you will need to update your policies, procedures and practices in recognition of the changes.

Dawn Jotham, the Education Product Development Lead at EduCare

About Dawn Jotham: The Education Product Development Lead at EduCare and has extensive experience working in educational establishments, having held the positions including head of year, lead for student welfare and designated senior person for safeguarding. Dawn has an MA in Childhood and Youth Studies and combines that with her own knowledge and hands-on experience in education to develop safeguarding and duty of care training courses for the education sector, so her input to this article is very valuable.

About EduCare: The UK’s leading provider of essential duty of care and safeguarding training. The company’s primary focus is on ‘duty of care’, helping to keep children, young people and adults safe from harm.

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