Keeping children safe in education
The 2018 update to KCSIE, applicable from tomorrow, places great emphasis on ensuring your Safeguarding policy takes into account the bespoke setting & needs of your school or academy. For academies, the guidance is quite clear that simply adopting a trust wide policy falls short of expectations. Whilst such a policy may outline the overarching expectations, each academy must, like schools, develop a policy that reflects the bespoke needs of their pupils, staff and community.
From a training perspective, KCSIE 2018 seeks to improve staff induction by introducing a statutory requirement for inclusion of procedures for managing children missing education. In the process, measures must be taken to ensure staff clearly understand the Behaviour and Child Protection policies together with the Code of Conduct.
All staff must read KCSIE Part 1. Annex A must be read by all staff working directly with children and has been revised to include four new additional key topics:
- Children and the court system (where children appear as witnesses);
- Children with family members in prison;
- County lines (where groups or gangs use young people or vulnerable adults to carry and sell drugs from borough to borough); Homelessness.
Following much publicised concerns re peer-on-peer abuse, under KCSIE your Safeguarding policy must state:
- the steps you are taking to prevent peer-on-peer abuse;
- how incidents will be managed & investigated;
- how victims and perpetrators will be supported.
- Policy covering pupil access of the internet whilst at school;
- Individual risk assessments for volunteers to determine if an enhanced DBS check is required. This is to clarify if they are working in ‘regulated activity’ and the determination should be recorded in an additional column on your SCR;
- The requirement for a minimum of 2 emergency contacts for each pupil;
- Clarification on s128 checks in academies, free and independent schools. “Management positions” is now defined as Head Teachers, Governors?/?Trustees, SLT and heads of department;
- Obtaining written statements re vetting and barring from any alternative providers;
- DSL requirements for proprietor-led schools;
- Mandatory DBS checks for parents from overseas as part of an exchange programme arrangements. Checks for 16-17 year olds living in the overseas household is not mandatory and can be conducted at the discretion of governance
These measures should explicitly cover sexual violence and harassment as the previously published ‘Sexual violence and sexual harassment between children in schools and colleges’ guidance is now included in the revised KCSIE (Part 5), giving this previously advisory guidance statutory status.
The guidance also places a greater focus on cautious application of the use of force to control or restrain a pupil, placing a statutory duty to create individual plans to minimise the likelihood of challenging behaviour and, where such behaviour does occur, less reliance on the use of physical restraint.
Enhanced practice arrangements for pupils with SEND should also be recognised within your Safeguarding policy, recognising the disproportionate risks for this vulnerable group e.g. bullying, isolation, behaviour and communication difficulties. Basically, the guidance is directing practice to consider the potential for abuse on an equal footing with meeting the pupil’s SEND needs. Therefore, there should be a close alignment of your Safeguarding and SEN policies.
Other KCSIE areas for practice include: