Updates to Keeping Children Safe in Education 2022
Each year there are some changes to the contents of Keeping Children Safe in Education. This year (the academic year Sept 2022-Aug 2023) the updates cover a range of issues, including operational processes and school governance.
This year’s updates to Keeping Children Safe in Education (2022) are listed below. Please read these before moving on to the next section.
Staff are reminded that children are not always ready or able to talk about their experiences of abuse and/or may not always recognise that they are being abused.
New information has been added to explain the impact of domestic abuse including the potential short-term and long-term detrimental impact on children’s health, wellbeing, and ability to learn if they are experiencing domestic abuse at home or within their own intimate relationships.
Supporting the DSL
The importance that governors and proprietors properly support the DSL role has been given prominence by adding it to the main body of the guidance and includes an expectation that they should read the full DSL job description in Annex C.
There is a new requirement for governors and trustees to receive safeguarding training at the point of induction to ensure their understanding of their important strategic role, as well as their legislative responsibilities, and those set out by their local multi-agency safeguarding arrangements, and that this is regularly updated.
DfE Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment Guidance
On our initial reading, whilst not explicitly stated, it appears that the DfE Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment guidance has been incorporated into KCSIE 2022, and therefore will be withdrawn in September 2022. It is helpful that the information is all in one place, and therefore easier for staff to access, although it does mean that there has been a substantial increase to the length of the KCSIE guidance. This also means that what was non-statutory guidance becomes statutory.
The guidance now makes clear that schools and colleges can choose to whom low-level concerns about staff are reported to, so long as it is clear in their policies. All staff should be aware of how to handle low-level concerns, allegations against staff and whistleblowing, with KCSIE 2022 being clear that this information should be contained in the staff behaviour policy.
In relation to online safety, there is an expectation that the governors hold this as a central theme in their whole setting approach to safeguarding.
Effective Safeguarding Curriculum
A focus on preventative education has been added, with a new paragraph about the importance of the setting’s role in delivering an effective safeguarding curriculum.
LGBTQ+ Children and Young People
There is a greater emphasis on risks for LGBTQ+ children and/or those that are perceived to be. Staff are reminded that LGBTQ+ inclusion is part of the statutory relationships education/relationships and sex education curriculum.
Senior leaders are reminded of the crucial part education settings play in preventative education within the context of a whole-school or college approach that creates a culture that does not tolerate any form of prejudice or discrimination, including sexism and misogyny/misandry. The expectation is that schools/colleges’ values and standards in this area will be underpinned by their behaviour policy, pastoral support system, as well as a planned programme of evidence-based RSHE. The guidance spells out key areas to be included in the latter .
Terminology throughout KCSIE 2022 has changed from peer-on-peer abuse to child-on-child abuse. This is a welcome change as the term peer-on-peer abuse suggests the abuse is between children of a similar age which is not always the case.
Lessons Learned from all Allegations
Learning from all allegations against staff investigations should be incorporated by schools and colleges, not just from those that are concluded and substantiated.
Online Searches during the Recruitment Process
The guidance now states that education settings should consider conducting online searches as part of their due diligence during the recruitment process. The stated aim of this is that it “may help identify any incidents or issues that have happened, and are publicly available online, which the school or college might want to explore with the applicant at the interview.
Curriculum Vitae and Full Application Forms
Regarding safer recruitment, the guidance clarifies that a curriculum vitae (CV) should only be accepted alongside a full application form. CVs on their own will not contain all the information required to support safer recruitment.