The government has now released a draft of the statutory guidance that all schools will be required to follow from September 2019.

Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSIE) is the main document setting out schools’ obligations around safeguarding children and safer recruitment and is updated almost every year.

Some of the changes for 2019 include:

Reference to the introduction of Safeguarding Partnerships, which will come into effect from September 2019.

This will replace all Local Safeguarding Children Boards (LSCBs) with a team of key professionals from the Local Authority, Clinical Commissioning Group and the police. Each locality will have access to its own dedicated team, who will work collaboratively to implement new safeguarding strategies with the aim of strengthening the child protection and safeguarding system in the local area.

Schools can still contact the LSCB until this change comes into effect.

References to the new curriculum for Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education, and Health Education.

The Department for Education is introducing compulsory Relationships Education for primary pupils and Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) for secondary pupils from September 2020. All schools will be required to teach these subjects and follow the statutory guidance. Health Education will be compulsory for all state-funded schools only, as independent schools are already required to teach Health Education under their requirement to teach Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education (PSHE).

The government will be actively encouraging and supporting schools to start teaching these new subjects from September 2019. Schools will be required to consult with parents when developing and reviewing their policies for Relationships Education and RSE, which will inform schools’ decisions on when and how certain content is covered.

Reference to the new Ofsted framework.

Changes to the framework include a 90-minute phone call between the lead inspector and head the day before an inspection begins, extending Section 8 ‘short’ inspections from one to two days (for schools with >150 pupils), and revised judgement categories.

Read the full education inspection framework 2019.

Reference to the new guidance 'Teaching online safety in school'.

The government has recently published new guidance on teaching children and young people about online safety and appropriate online behaviour. The guidance is non-statutory and applies to all local authority-maintained schools, academies and free schools. It may also be helpful to nurseries and FE colleges.

The guidance covers fundamental knowledge and behaviours for pupils, including how to evaluate what they see online, how to identify risks, and how and when to seek support. It is not intended to create additional content or teaching requirements; topics can be incorporated into other curriculum areas, including the new compulsory Relationships (Sex Education) and Health Education in place from September 2020.

Make sure to familiarise yourself with the latest guidance. This should be read in conjunction with Education for a Connected World Framework published last year, which offers ‘age-specific advice about the online knowledge and skills that pupils should have the opportunity to develop at different stages of their lives.’

All of these changes can be found on pages 108 and 109 of the draft Keeping Children Safe in Education 2019 document.

Fortunately for school leaders, there are no core changes to implement or new expectations placed upon them this time around; the update simply serves to ensure that the guidance aligns with other areas of government policy.

What happens now?

The guidance will be published on 2 September 2019, at which point the previous version will be withdrawn. Until then, schools and colleges must continue to have regard to KCSIE 2018.

What should I be doing?

In a practical sense, there’s very little for schools to do in response to this new guidance. However, there are couple of steps you can take now to ensure you’re prepared for September.

  1. Update your Safeguarding and Child Protection Policies to account for new dates, etc.
  2. Make staff aware that there will be a new KCSIE from September and the key changes.
  3. Ensure staff are up to speed with the changes to the Voyeurism (Offences) Act 2019 which criminalise ‘up-skirting’. This refers to the act of placing equipment such as a camera or mobile phone beneath a person’s clothing to take a voyeuristic photograph without their permission. According to one source, young girls as young as seven have been victims of this practice.

Need safeguarding support?

If you’re facing a safeguarding issue at your school in relation to any member of staff, Ellis Whittam’s dedicated Education Team have the specialist knowledge and sector experience to guide you through the process and ensure you meet your legal responsibilities.

We can provide confidential advice on managing allegations against staff appropriately and in line with KCSIE, as well as deliver training on conducting investigations into these tricky and highly-sensitive situations.

For immediate support, call 0345 226 8393.

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