Increase in EYFS volunteers

Volunteers Analysis released by the Education Policy Institute evidences an increase in the use of volunteers in early years provision settings. Researchers examining data on the early years workforce in England found evidence of increased use of unpaid workers, 15.5% in Reception classes and 10.8% in Nurseries. As this upward trend is likely to continue, it is essential volunteers receive a good safeguarding induction and ongoing training. This will enable them to contribute effectively, consistently and thrive in their role. It is now a statutory requirement to determine if they are or will be working in a ‘regulated activity’ capacity through conducting an individual risk assessment which should be recorded in a new column on your Single Central Record.

Neglected older children

A new report shows older children who are suffering neglect are ‘unseen’ by the services that should be supporting them. The report, taken from the findings of a series of joint area deep dive inspections by Ofsted alongside inspectors from the Care Quality Commission, HM Probation and HM Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services, reveals that neglected older children are more likely to go missing from home, become involved in criminal activity or be exploited. The report highlights that services were less likely to spot signs of neglect affecting children aged seven to fifteen than their younger peers, calling for a more coordinated approach from local agencies to safeguard this vulnerable group. The report also called for children’s professionals to have access to better training on how to spot the neglect of older children. It is estimated that more than 11% of eleven to seventeen year olds in the UK will have experienced neglect at some point in their lives.* Sam Royston, director of policy and research at The Children’s Society, highlights that: ‘More training is needed to ensure professionals working with both children and adults, including those working in schools, can identify situations where there may be neglect and share information about any concerns they may have.’ The findings of the report based on inspections in six local authority areas: Bristol; Cheshire West and Chester; Haringey; Peterborough; Stockton-on-Tees; and Wokingham can be accessed at: neglect_FINAL_060718.pdf *

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.

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:

  • 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