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The Department for Education’s flagship safeguarding document is ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ or KCSIE for short. It has been updated for September 2018, with valuable new additions that all schools need to consider. Designated Safeguarding Leads and school leaders and owners need to read it all, but here is an introduction to some of the changes that will have an impact on everybody.
WHO IS IT FOR?
Wherever I go to talk to teachers about safeguarding, I like to ask if everyone at their school has read Part 1 of KCSIE. The guidance is statutory, which means that schools must follow what it says, and within the introduction it points out that Part 1, the first 15 pages of the document, is to be read by all staff. That doesn’t mean all teachers, but all staff – in the office, in the site team, in the canteen…
Annex A covers specific forms of abuse and safeguarding issues, and should be read by leaders and anyone in school who works directly with children. If you think this isn’t the case in your school, why not stop reading now and go and set the wheels in motion for this to take place now. Not to mention Annex C about online safety…
HOW CAN I SEE WHAT’S CHANGED?
There is no way around reading the document itself, but to help you get to grips with the changes at a glance if you are well accustomed to the previous KCSIE, we have put together a tracked changes document here, and Annex H of the main document (scroll down this page to see the 2018 version) includes the changes in table form.
SEXUAL VIOLENCE AND HARASSMENT
One key new area is the addition of Part 5, which refers to and summarises the new DfE advice on sexual violence and harassment in schools. It is worth reading the full document as it is very helpful, with case studies, actions and guidance for a range of issues. The text stresses that schools must take all forms of sexual violence and harassment seriously and explains how it exists on a continuum.
Behaviours sometimes considered as ‘low level’ must be treated seriously and not allowed to perpetuate. Schools need to take action on a range of issues and the document makes specific reference to behaviours which are often tolerated or treated as minor misdemeanours, such as bra-strap flicking and the careless use of language.
WHAT ELSE IS NEW?
Many schools, especially those in London will now be more familiar with ‘county lines’ than at the time the 2016 document was published. KCSIE now gives a useful summary of the phenomenon in Annex A with key factors involved in this type of abuse.
There are many other changes, small and large. For example, there is new mention of contextual safeguarding and how we need to work on understanding the full picture to understand children’s lives and the overall safeguarding jigsaw. Schools are now recommended to hold at least two emergency contacts after cases of deaths in the home of the single contact themselves.
In online safety, new resources and signposting has been added, as well as mention of topics to cover such as fake news, pornography and racist extremism. The role of the school designated safeguarding lead is defined in KCSIE; this 2018 edition of KCSIE adds the words ‘including online safety’ after safeguarding and child protection, highlighting how the DSL has lead responsibility, and online safety is inseparable from safeguarding. This is a really helpful addition, highlighting that whilst it’s fine to have an online-safety lead other than the DSL or deputy DSL, there must be a very close working relationship and support lines between anyone in this position and the DSL.
This post is just a summary of a few points in the new KCSIE to get you started – there is not room to cover everything here, so make sure you go to the document itself on gov.uk (and remember the tracked changes version might help the first time you read it). For other perspectives, picking out other key points, why not check out Andrew Hall’s update page and video here, an NSPCC overview here, or Kenty County Council’s online safety in KCSIE overview here.
Safeguarding is everybody’s responsibility, so get your colleagues reading! September’s CPD updates for all school staff always include reminders and new aspects to look out for, but the new KCSIE gives us an opportunity to return to these issues and cover new areas to help make the next academic year a great one for keeping children safe.