On the 1st of September 2023, the Department for Education (DfE) published its 2023 version of Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSiE). This is a statutory guidance for all schools including maintained nursery schools. However, Early years providers are advised that they ‘may find it helpful to refer to the guidance’ as best practice.
Throughout the guidance, there is the use of the terms ‘must’ and ‘should’. For clarity, ‘must’ refers to when a person is legally required to do something and ‘should’ means that the advice set out should be followed unless there is a good reason not to.
What are this year’s key changes?
Filtering and monitoring
The focus is on roles, responsibilities and expectations for the schools’ filtering and monitoring systems. The guidance is very clear:
- The designated safeguarding lead should take lead responsibility for online safety and understanding the filtering and monitoring systems.
- Staff and governors should understand the expectations, applicable roles, responsibilities, and cyber security – this should be included in training and inductions.
- Governors should ensure appropriate systems are in place, including unreasonable restrictions on ‘over-blocking’, and regular system reviews on effectiveness and appropriateness, informed by the risk assessment under the Prevent Duty.
- The Department for Education has published new Filtering and Monitoring Standards that schools should follow to meet their duty.
- Guidance on key areas which should be included in safeguarding policies.
Want to know more about your Filtering and Monitoring duties?
Why not join us on our 28th November CPD training session, where we will be going through roles and responsibilities, appropriate filtering and monitoring, training, recording, reporting and much more. Book your place HERE.
Safer Recruitment: Online Searches
Online searches, for shortlisted candidates, should be considered as part of the safer recruitment procedures. Shortlisted candidates should also be informed that online searches may be done as part of due diligence checks.
Use of school/setting premises for non-school/setting activities and clarification on allegations against 3rd party staff
New guidance around seeking appropriate safeguarding assurances from organisations or individuals using school/setting premises for non-school activities and how to handle allegations made against outside organisations or individuals using setting premises.
What do I need to ask my staff to do?
In all settings, it is essential that everybody understands their safeguarding responsibilities, which means that early years providers should ensure that their staff and volunteers who work directly with children, read at least Part One of the guidance.
This is because Part One provides essential safeguarding information for everyone who comes into contact with children. Staff and volunteers are vitally important as your frontline safeguarding eyes and ears, as they are in a strong position to identify concerns early, as they have regular contact with your children, and their families and as so, are able to early identify early on, any emerging concerns and report them to the safeguarding lead promptly, which means you can often prevent them from escalating.
It is true that no one person can have a full picture of a child’s needs and circumstances. Therefore, all settings should embed a strong approach and culture to safeguarding, maintaining an attitude of ‘it could happen here’. This means having staff who have a strong awareness and understanding of the signs and indicators of child abuse and neglect, whether that be inside or outside your setting or home and even online.
Knowing what to do if they are worried a child is being abused or who and where to seek advice, is vital for early identification of concerns.
Part one also covers the role of staff in providing a safe environment in which children can learn. This means understanding the systems which support safeguarding within your setting. These will include; your safeguarding policies, the role of your safeguarding lead and local early help processes, training (including online safety) and managing the requirement to maintain an appropriate level of confidentiality. Also, never promising a child that they will not tell anyone about a report of any form of abuse – the above should be explained to staff as part of staff induction.
KCSiE 23 advises staff should be aware that children may not feel or know how to tell that they are being abused or neglected or even recognise their experiences as harmful. In these cases, it is crucial that staff have professional curiosity and speak with their safeguarding leads with concerns.
Where staff have raised a concern, written records of the concern should be made. This may also be helpful if/when responding to any complaints about the way a case has been handled internally. Records should include a clear and comprehensive summary, and details of how the concern was followed up and resolved – including any action taken, decisions reached and the outcome. If there is any doubt about recording information or information sharing, staff should discuss it with their safeguarding lead.
Why is all this important?
Research and serious case reviews have repeatedly shown the dangers of failing to take effective action. Poor safeguarding practices include:
- Failing to act on and refer the early signs of abuse and neglect
- Poor record keeping
- Failing to listen to the views of the child
- Sharing information too slowly
- A lack of challenge to those who appear not to be taking action
In addition, KCSiE 23 Part 5 and Annex B provide staff and volunteers with important additional information about specific safeguarding issues and should also be read by those staff and volunteers who work directly with children.
Finally, it is key that leaders of settings consider what mechanisms they have in place to assist their staff to understand and discharge their roles and responsibilities and demonstrate that staff have read and understood their duties.
If you would like to know more about gaining access to our safeguarding quizzes that will help you with this, and demonstrate staff understanding, please get in touch.
KCSiE Part 1. Part 5 and Annex B
For all those working directly with children
KCSiE Full document
For proprietors, management committees, senior leaders, safeguarding leads
DfE Filtering and Monitoring Standards
Standards schools should meet on filtering and monitoring
Appropriate Filtering and Monitoring Guidance
A guide for education settings and filtering providers