DfE consultation for proposed changes to Keeping Children Safe in Education – ends 11 March 2022

Blog | Education
Published: 28th February 2022
Area: Education

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In January this year, the DfE launched a consultation into the proposed changes to Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSIE). Responses to the consultation must be made by March 11 2022. The proposed changes are due to come into effect from September 2022.

A draft version of the proposed KCSIE 2022 is available alongside the consultation documents.

The main proposed areas of consultation include:

  • Seeking feedback on whether the guidance contained within KCSIE 2021 provides sufficient detail as to the safeguarding obligations for 16-19 academies, special post-16 institutions and independent training providers.

  • Whether KCSIE should acknowledge that children may not be ready or know how to report abuse, exploitation or neglect.

  • The proposed additional content (at paragraphs 82 – 93 of the draft KCSIE 2022) to remind Governors and Proprietors of their legal duties under the Human Rights Act 1998 and the Equality Act 2010 (including the Public Sector Equality Duty, where applicable) regarding safeguarding, sexual violence and harassment.

  • The possibility of strengthening the training requirements to make it an explicit requirement that all governors and trustees receive safeguarding and child protection training (including online safety) at induction and receive regular updates.

  • Requesting feedback regarding whether the changes to Parts 2 and 5 of KCSIE 2021 implemented last September (including the guidance on systems for reporting abuse) have supported schools and colleges in taking a whole school approach to safeguarding.

  • Requesting feedback on whether changes regarding online safety introduced in KCSIE 2021 have helped embed online safety into schools’ and colleges’ approach to safeguarding. The consultation also requests participants’ views on any further changes that should be made to KCSIE to further support schools and colleges in how to keep children safe online both in school and during remote learning.

  • Requesting feedback on whether changes regarding online safety introduced in KCSIE 2021 have helped embed online safety into schools’ and colleges’ approach to safeguarding. The consultation also requests participants’ views on any further changes that should be made to KCSIE to further support schools and colleges in how to keep children safe online both in school and during remote learning.

  • A proposal to remove information regarding the role of the designated safeguarding lead from Part 2, to new Annex C, with a view to encouraging more people to read the job description of a DSL.

  • The proposed introduction of new paragraphs 198 and 199 of the draft KCSIE 2022 which recognise that LGBT children may be at greater risk of harm due to their sexual orientation (or perceived sexual orientation).

  • Concerning Part 3 on Safer Recruitment, KCSIE 2021 saw a significant overhaul with a view to making the guidance easier to follow and akin to a typical recruitment exercise. The DfE is now seeking feedback on whether the changes have achieved this aim and what (if any) further changes may be useful.

  • Seeking views on the proposed suggestion that schools and colleges should consider undertaking online searches of shortlisted candidates (such as using social media) prior to interview.

  • Requesting feedback on whether the new low-level concerns guidance now included at Part 4 of KCSIE 2021 is useful to schools and colleges in recognising and handling concerns that do not meet the harm threshold. Also seeking views on whether schools/colleges would disclose substantiated low-level concerns in employee references.

  • The proposal to remove the standalone Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment advice and incorporate it within KCSIE 2022.

  • An information gathering exercise to expand the DfE’S knowledge base regarding issues previously raised in consultations which the DfE is aware are concerns to participants but that it has not yet addressed within the draft guidance. This includes issues such as the sharing of nudes and semi-nudes, and filtering and monitoring requirements for schools.

There is a table at Annex F of the proposed new guidance (page 168) which summarises all of the proposed changes which may be useful, alongside this note, when completing the consultation form.

We would encourage schools and colleges to submit their views in the consultation to ensure that the final version of KCSIE 2022 is as useful and workable to the sector as possible.

The consultation closes on 11 March 2022 and can be accessed here. The response to the consultation will be published later this year.

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Emma is a Solicitor within the firm’s Education team specialising in employment advice for education clients including independent schools and academies, as well as both further and higher education institutes.

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