KEEPING CHILDREN SAFE IN EDUCATION: SUMMARY
The Department for Education (DfE) has published an updated version of the statutory safeguarding and child protection guidance for schools in England, Keeping children safe in education (KCSIE) (DfE, 2022). This guidance will replace KCSIE 2021 when it comes into force on 1 September 2022. The guidance sets out what schools and colleges in England must do to safeguard and
promote the welfare of children and young people under the age of 18. It is directed at:
• governing bodies of maintained schools, nursery schools and colleges
• proprietors of independent schools and non-maintained special schools
• management of committees of pupil referral units (PRUs)
• senior leadership teams.
Part one: safeguarding information for all staff
The updated guidance includes a new paragraph setting out that children may not feel ready or know how to tell someone they are being abused.
Domestic abuse has been added to the list of safeguarding issues that all staff should be aware of. The guidance makes it clear that domestic abuse:
• can be psychological, physical, sexual, financial, or emotional
• can impact on children through seeing, hearing or experiencing the effects of domestic abuse and/or experiencing it through their own intimate relationships.
Part two: the management of safeguarding
Training for governors and trustees
New content emphasises that governors and trustees should receive appropriate safeguarding and child protection training at induction, and then at regular intervals.
Training should provide them with the knowledge to ensure their school’s safeguarding policies and procedures are effective.
Human rights legislation
The updated guidance makes it clear that being subjected to harassment, violence and or abuse, may breach children’s rights, as set out in the Human Rights Act.
The guidance sets out the significance of the Equality Act 2010 to school safeguarding, including that schools and colleges:
• must not unlawfully discriminate against pupils because of their protected
• must consider how they are supporting pupils with protected characteristics
• must take positive action, where proportionate, to deal with the disadvantages these pupils face. For example, by making reasonable adjustments for disabled
children and supporting girls if there is evidence they are being disproportionately subjected to sexual violence or harassment.
It also looks at the implications of the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) for education settings. This includes a need to be conscious that pupils with protected
characteristics may be more at risk of harm and integrate this into safeguarding policies and procedures.
Additions to the guidance state that governing bodies and proprietors should regularly review the effectiveness of school filters and monitoring systems. They should ensure
that the leadership team and relevant staff are:
• aware of and understand the systems in place
• manage them effectively
• know how to escalate concerns when identified.
Schools and colleges should use communications with parents and carers to reinforce the importance of children being safe online. Schools should share information with
• what systems they have in place to filter and monitor online use
• what they are asking children to do online, including the sites they will asked to
• who from the school or college (if anyone) their child is going to be interacting
Virtual school head
Guidance has been updated to reflect the extension of the role of virtual school head to include a non-statutory responsibility for oversight of the attendance, attainment,
Guidance now emphasises the importance of providing LGBTQ+ children with a safe space for them to speak out or share their concerns with members of staff.
Part three: safer recruitment
Updated guidance clarifies that a curriculum vitae (CV) should only be accepted alongside a full application form and is not sufficient on its own to support safer
Information has been added to highlight that schools should consider online searches as part of their due diligence checks on shortlisted candidates.
Part four: allegations made against/concerns raised in relation to teachers
Updates make it clear that learning lessons applies to all cases, not just those which are concluded and found to be substantiated.
Low level concerns
Information has been updated to make it clear that a low level concerns policy should contain a clear procedure for confidentially sharing concerns. The school can decide
whether concerns are initially shared with the Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL)/nominated person or directly with the headteacher/principal. The headteacher
should ultimately be informed of all low level concerns and make the final decision on how to respond. Where appropriate this can be done in consultation with the DSL.
Guidance also clarifies that low level concerns which are shared about supply staff and contractors should be notified to their employers; and schools and colleges should
consult with their LADO if unsure whether low-level concerns shared about a member of staff meet the harm threshold.
Part five: child-on-child sexual violence and sexual harassment
This section has been expanded to incorporate guidance previously covered in the DfE’s Sexual violence and sexual harassment between children in schools and colleges
advice. It also provides new information, emphasising:
• the importance of explaining to children that the law is in place to protect rather than criminalise them
• the importance of understanding intra-familial harms, and any necessary support for siblings following incidents
• the need for schools and colleges to be part of discussions with statutory safeguarding partners.
Annex B, which provides additional information about specific forms of abuse and safeguarding issues, has been updated to move most of the content on peer-onpeer/child-on-child abuse and sexual violence and harassment into the main body of the guidance.
Annex C, which looks at the role of the Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL), now
includes much of the detail previously including in Part two.
Annex F sets out substantive changes made by the new guidance.
Concerns about safeguarding practices within your school or college
Your school or college should have appropriate whistleblowing procedures in place for your staff to raise any concerns about poor or unsafe practice with the senior leadership team.
If staff members feel unable to raise an issue, or they feel that their genuine concerns are not being addressed, they can contact the NSPCC whistleblowing helpline.
Types of abuse and neglect
Page 14 defines:
- Physical abuse
- Emotional abuse
- Sexual abuse
Specific safeguarding issues
All staff are expected to be aware of safeguarding issues such as drug use, child sexual exploitation and radicalisation.
Staff should also know that safeguarding issues can manifest via peer-on-peer abuse, including bullying and sexual assault.