KCSIE 2021 - Keeping Children Safe in Education Guidance

This blog summarises some of the key updates and additions to the new version of the statutory guidance ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ which came into effect from 1st September 2021.

This guidance applies to all schools and colleges in England and is for headteachers, teaching staff, governing bodies, proprietors, and management committees. The guidance sets out the legal duties an establishment must follow to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people under the age of 18 in schools and colleges.

English Schools and colleges will still need to follow the existing guidance (Keeping Children Safe in Education 2020) until 1st September 2021.

You can also download our KCSIE handbook for safeguarding leads HERE.

Child-on-Child Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment

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Due to the many disclosures of Peer-on-Peer abuse over the past year, there have been many updates to child-on-child sexual violence and peer-on-peer abuse (POPA) within the guidance. First, the guidance emphasises that procedures for dealing with peer-on-peer abuse should be included in all establishments’ child protection policies. Schools and colleges should have a zero-tolerance approach to peer-on-peer sexual violence/harassment which includes challenging inappropriate behaviours between peers. Downplaying certain behaviours between peers, such as dismissing sexual harassment as “just banter”, “having a laugh” or “boys being boys” can lead to a culture of unacceptable behaviours. This can result in students normalising abuse/harassment and not reporting abuse they witness or experience.

Secondly, the guidance covers the importance of handling disclosures of peer-on-peer abuse. Staff should be able to reassure victims that they are safe, and their disclosures are being taken seriously. There needs to be an understanding of the barriers that prevent students from reporting abuse and systems in place to allow students to confidently disclose their concerns. Students who report abuse should never be made to feel that they are creating a problem, nor should they ever be made to feel ashamed, or victim-blamed for their disclosures.

Our Peer-on-Peer Abuse guide is available for free in our resources section and can be useful when training or discussing POPA with staff.

Children being taught in classroom

Child Criminal Exploitation (CCE) / Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE)

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There has been additional information added on how children can be criminally exploited explaining that the experiences of children who are being criminally exploited, as well as the indicators of criminal exploitation, can differ between genders, resulting in these children being at a higher risk of sexual exploitation.

Additional information on Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) has been added defining CSE as a form of child sexual abuse and that it can involve direct physical activity as well as noncontact activities as part of the grooming process including via the internet.

Our guest webinar with Child Sexual Exploitation experts CYP First looked at the topic in detail and covered some of the warning signs, the grooming process and connected issues. Watch on-demand here.

Mental Health

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Additional information has been released about DfE’s programme to help schools with preventing and tackling bullying, mental health and behaviour in schools which may also be useful for colleges. Mental health problems can be prevented by promoting resilience as part of an integrated, whole-school/college approach to social and emotional wellbeing, which is tailored to the needs of their pupils.

While not mandatory it is recommended for schools and colleges to have a senior mental health lead, supported by the senior leadership team and from September 2021 schools and colleges will be able to access senior mental health leads training.

Contextual Safeguarding

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Guidance around the importance of social care assessment considering children being harmed in contexts outside the home, therefore it is important schools and colleges provide as much information as possible as part of the referral process. This will allow any assessment to consider all the available evidence and enable a contextual approach to address such harm.

A solid understanding of contextual safeguarding is pivotal in intervening and preventing peer-on-peer abuse in schools and colleges. Watch our free safeguarding webinar on-demand to learn about contextual safeguarding and what this means for schools and colleges given the current challenges concerning peer-on-peer abuse.

Record Keeping

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Additional information has been added that all concerns, discussions, and decisions made should be recorded in writing and stored securely and confidentially. Records should include

  • a clear and comprehensive summary of the concern
  • details of how the concern was followed up and resolved
  • a note of any action taken, decisions reached and the outcome

Staff who are unsure about recording requirements should discuss with their safeguarding lead.

The Management of Safeguarding

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Governing bodies should ensure a ‘Whole school and college approach to safeguarding’ ensuring safeguarding and child protection are at the forefront and underpin all relevant aspects of process and policy development. Ultimately, all systems, processes and policies should operate with the best interests of the child at their heart.

Talk to us to find out how we can support you with safeguarding best practice throughout your organisation from recruitment, to recording, case management and reporting. A huge part of a whole organisation approach to safeguarding is ensuring the staff in your establishment receive up to date safeguarding training. We offer a range of CPD accredited training courses to suit all roles within the education sector.

Online Safety

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Schools and colleges need to ensure that safeguarding training for staff also includes online safety training and fulfil the requirement to guarantee children are taught about safeguarding, including online safety.

Out of School Activities

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Organisations and individuals, such as community groups, sports associations and service providers that run community or extra-curricular activities, may hire or rent facilities for non-school or college-related activities Governing bodies need to ensure that these organisations and individuals have appropriate arrangements in place to safeguard children and young people.

For further guidance on keeping children safe during community activities, after-school clubs and tuition, see our free resource download here.

Home Education

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Revised to recommend that when a parent or carer has expressed their intention to remove a student from school to education at home, that local authorities, schools, and other relevant professionals work together to coordinate a meeting with parents and carers to ensure that the interests of the child have been considered; particularly if the child has SEND, is vulnerable and/or has a social worker.

Safer Recruitment

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The guidelines have been updated to reflect the use of birth certificates to check an individual’s identity, an explanation of when separate barred list checks must be carried out, clarification for overseas checks and what further checks could include. Clarification on how to check prohibitions, directions, sanctions and restrictions and clarification around s128 checks which prohibits or restricts an unsuitable individual from participating in the management of an independent school, including academies and free schools.

As the requirements for safer recruitment become ever more complex and comprehensive, it can be challenging to ensure that all staff and volunteer records are up to date. Our SCR solution, Sentry, helps organisations to stay on top of all the required safer recruitment checks and is also customisable to individual organisations’ needs. Find out more.

Allegations and Concerns Involving Staff, Volunteers and Contractors

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Schools and colleges should have their own procedures for dealing with concerns and/or allegations against staff/volunteers that are consistent with local safeguarding procedures and practice

Allegations against staff/volunteers have been sorted into two sections

  1. Allegations that may meet the harms threshold.
  2. Allegation/concerns that do not meet the harms threshold – referred to as ‘low-level concerns’

The guidance has also provided examples of low-level concerns which include:

  • Being over-friendly with children
  • Having favourites
  • Taking photographs of children on their mobile phone
  • Engaging with a child one to one in a secluded area
  • Using inappropriate sexualised, intimidating or offensive language

The importance of all staff being able to report low-level concerns was also stressed and for the establishment to have systems in place to review these concerns for patterns. Additional information has also been added on teacher dismissal due to serious misconduct and consideration whether it is appropriate to refer the case to the Secretary of State via the Teaching Regulation Agency.

You can also read our blog on reporting Low-Level concerns HERE.

Safeguarding Training

We provide a range of CPD accredited safeguarding training for all role types which include the latest KCSIE guidance so all staff in your establishment can be confident in their ability to protect the children and young people in their care.

Posted Date

17th August 2021

Georgia Latief
Marketing Content Manager

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