KCSIE Changes from 01 Sep 2021

Changes made to Keeping Children Safe in Education 2021

This document came into force in September 2021.

Keeping Children Safe in Education 2021 (KCSIE) is statutory guidance that schools and colleges in England must have regard to when carrying out their duties to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.

A pdf download of this article is available here.

This Guidance replaces Keeping Children Safe in Education 2020 updated January 2021

The changes below are part of the 2021 Appendix G page 161 with additional comments and pointers made by Safecic.

The updated statutory guidance should be read in full to ensure all aspects of the updated document has been checked against individual schools knowledge, policies and procedures and actions required.

To benefit from the footnotes and links throughout the document please see the original document.

What is the status of this guidance on page 3

In addition to other listed Act KCSIE now applies to providers of post education as set out in Education and Training (Welfare of Children) Act 2021

Covid-19 guidance has been removed page 3

Who is this guidance for? page 4

now adds a new bullet to the list senior leadership teams as listed below

  • governing bodies of maintained schools (including maintained nursery schools) and colleges;
  • proprietors of independent schools, (including academies, free schools and alternative provision academies), and, non-maintained special schools. In the case of academies, free schools, and alternative provision academies, the proprietor will be the academy trust; and
  • management committees of pupil referral units (PRUs) and
  • senior leadership teams

All staff in these schools or colleges must read at least Part One of the guidance. The persons described above should ensure this.

They should also ensure that mechanisms are in place to assist staff to understand and discharge their roles and responsibilities as set out in Part One.

To help with this there is an added a new paragraph which explains there is a new condensed Part One in Annex A.

This is to give governing bodies and proprietors the freedom to choose the condensed Part One where they think it will be appropriate for staff who do not work directly with children.

PART ONE Safeguarding information for all staff was page 5 now page 6

A number of paragraphs have been moved in Part One to improve the flow of the document

What school and college staff need to know

Paragraph 13 page 7

Added first bullet makes clear that child protection policies should also include procedures for dealing with peer on peer abuse

Paragraph 18 page 8

This a new paragraph and reads:

All staff should be able to reassure victims that they are taken seriously and that they will be supported and kept safe, A victim should never be given the impression that they are creating a problem by reporting abuse, sexual violence or sexual harassment. Nor should a victim ever be made to feel ashamed to make a report.

Safeguarding issues page 11

Paragraph 31

This has been updated to reflect the new UK Council for Internet Safety (UKCIS) guidance on the sharing of nude and semi-nude images which has replace their sexting advice.

The paragraph now reads:

All staff should have an awareness of safeguarding issues that can put children at risk of harm. Behaviours linked to issues such as drug taking and or alcohol misuse, deliberately missing education and consensual and non consensual sharing of nude and semi-nude images and/or videos. Can be a signs that children are at risk. All other  issues staff should be aware of include

Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) and Child Criminal Exploitation (CCE) page 12

New paragraph 32

New additional information added on Child Criminal Exploitation (CCE) which includes information on how children can be exploited and makes clear that the experiences of girls being criminally exploited can be very different to boys, indicators of CCE may also be different for girls.

They read:

32. Both CSE and CCE are forms of abuse that occur where an individual or group takes advantage of an imbalance in power to coerce, manipulate or deceive a child into taking part in sexual or criminal activity, in exchange for something the victim needs or wants, and/or for the financial advantage or increased status of the perpetrator or facilitator and/or through violence or the threat of violence. CSE and CCE can affect children, both male and female and can include children who have been moved (commonly referred to as trafficking) for the purpose of exploitation.

and

Child Criminal Exploitation (CCE) page 12

New paragraphs 33 34 35

33. Some specific forms of CCE can include children being forced or manipulated into transporting drugs or money through county lines, working in cannabis factories, shoplifting or pickpocketing. They can also be forced or manipulated into committing vehicle crime or threatening/committing serious violence to others.

34. Children can become trapped by this type of exploitation as perpetrators can threaten victims (and their families) with violence, or entrap and coerce them into debt. They may be coerced into carrying weapons such as knives or begin to carry a knife for a sense of protection from harm from others. As children involved in criminal exploitation often commit crimes themselves, their vulnerability as victims is not always recognised by adults and professionals, (particularly older children), and they are not treated as victims despite the harm they have experienced. They may still have been criminally exploited even if the activity appears to be something they have agreed or consented to.

35. It is important to note that the experience of girls who are criminally exploited can be very different to that of boys. The indicators may not be the same, however professionals should be aware that girls are at risk of criminal exploitation too. It is also important to note that both boys and girls being criminally exploited may be at higher risk of sexual exploitation.

NB Further information about CCE incuding definitions and indicators is included in Annex B

Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) page 12

New additional information added on Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) which makes clear that CSE is a form of child sexual abuse and includes information on what it may involve.

New paragraphs 36 37 38 & 39

36. CSE is a form of child sexual abuse. Sexual abuse may involve physical contact, including assault by penetration (for example, rape or oral sex) or nonpenetrative acts such as masturbation, kissing, rubbing, and touching outside clothing. It may include non- contact activities, such as involving children in the production of sexual images, forcing children to look at sexual images or watch sexual activities, encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways or grooming a child in preparation for abuse including via the internet.

37. CSE can occur over time or be a one-off occurrence, and may happen without the child’s immediate knowledge e.g. through others sharing videos or images of them on social media.

38. CSE can affect any child, who has been coerced into engaging in sexual activities. This includes 16 and 17 year olds who can legally consent to have sex. Some children may not realise they are being exploited e.g. they believe they are in a genuine romantic relationship.

39. Further information about CSE including definitions and indicators is included in Annex B.

Mental Health page 13

Paragraphs 34 35 & 36 are now 41 42 & 43

There is additional information on resources for mental health with old paragraph 37 is now 45 and 38 has been replace by new 44 and 45

44. Schools and colleges can access a range of advice to help them identify children in need of extra mental health support, this includes working with external agencies. More information can be found in the mental health and behaviour in schools guidance, colleges may also wish to follow this guidance as best practice. Public Health England has produced a range of resources to support secondary school teachers to promote positive health, wellbeing and resilience among children. See Rise Above for links to all materials and lesson plans.

45. If staff have a mental health concern about a child that is also a safeguarding concern, immediate action should be taken, following their child protection policy, and speaking to the designated safeguarding lead or a deputy.

Peer on peer abuse (child on child) pages 14 and 15

Peer on peer (child on child) abuse – additional information has been included which highlights the importance of staff recognising the signs of peer on peer abuse and knowing how to respond to reports.

This section emphasises the importance of all staff needing to know and understand and what they must do if it is suspected or observed. Previous paragraphs 29 and 30 are now

Paragraphs 46 -50

46. All staff should be aware that children can abuse other children (often referred to as peer on peer abuse). And that it can happen both inside and outside of school or college and online. It is important that all staff recognise the indicators and signs of peer on peer abuse and know how to identify it and respond to reports.

47. All staff should understand, that even if there are no reports in their schools or colleges it does not mean it is not happening, it may be the case that it is just not being reported. As such it is important if staff have any concerns regarding peer on peer abuse they should speak to their designated safeguarding lead (or deputy).

48. It is essential that all staff understand the importance of challenging inappropriate behaviours between peers, many of which are listed below, that are actually abusive in nature. Downplaying certain behaviours, for example dismissing sexual harassment as “just banter”, “just having a laugh”, “part of growing up” or “boys being boys” can lead to a culture of unacceptable behaviours, an unsafe environment for children and in worst case scenarios a culture that normalises abuse leading to children accepting it as normal and not coming forward to report it.

49. Peer on peer abuse is most likely to include, but may not be limited to:

  • bullying (including cyberbullying, prejudice-based and discriminatory bullying);
  • abuse in intimate personal relationships between peers;
  • physical abuse such as hitting, kicking, shaking, biting, hair pulling, or otherwise causing physical harm (this may include an online element which facilitates, threatens and/or encourages physical abuse);
  • sexual violence, such as rape, assault by penetration and sexual assault; (this may include an online element which facilitates, threatens and/or encourages sexual violence);
  • sexual harassment, such as sexual comments, remarks, jokes and online sexual harassment, which may be standalone or part of a broader pattern of abuse;
  • causing someone to engage in sexual activity without consent, such as forcing someone to strip, touch themselves sexually, or to engage in sexual activity with a third party;
  • consensual and non-consensual sharing of nudes and semi nudes images and or videos (also know as sexting or youth produced sexual imagery);
  • upskirting, which typically involves taking a picture under a person’s clothing without their permission, with the intention of viewing their genitals or buttocks to obtain sexual gratification, or cause the victim humiliation, distress or alarm; and
  • initiation/hazing type violence and rituals (this could include activities involving harassment, abuse or humiliation used as a way of initiating a person into a group and may also include an online element).

50. All staff should be clear as to the school’s or college’s policy and procedures with regards to peer on peer abuse and the important role they have to play in preventing it and responding where they believe a child may be at risk from it.

Serious Violence was page 10 now 15 and 16

Paragraph 51 to 52 update previous paragraphs 31 and 32

These paragraphs now have additional information on risk factors added.

51. All staff should be aware of the indicators, which may signal children are at risk from, or are involved with serious violent crime. These may include increased absence from school, a change in friendships or relationships with older individuals or groups, a significant decline in performance, signs of self-harm or a significant change in wellbeing, or signs of assault or unexplained injuries. Unexplained gifts or new possessions could also indicate that children have been approached by, or are involved with, individuals associated with criminal networks or gangs and may be at risk of criminal exploitation (see paragraphs 33-35).

52. All staff should be aware of the range of risk factors which increase the likelihood of involvement in serious violence, such as being male, having been frequently absent or permanently excluded from school, having experienced child maltreatment and having been involved in offending, such as theft or robbery. Advice for schools and colleges is provided in the Home Office’s Preventing youth violence and gang involvement and its Criminal exploitation of children and vulnerable adults: county lines guidance.

Statutory children’s social care assessments and services was page 13 now page 18

This section has been updated and now has new paragraphs which highlights the importance of social care assessments and the need to consider children being harmed outside the home on contextual safeguarding

Paragraphs 62 63 & 64

62. Concerns about a child’s welfare should be referred to local authority children’s social care. Where a child is suffering, or is likely to suffer from harm, it is important that a referral to children’s social care (and if appropriate the police) is made immediately. Referrals should follow the local referral process.

63. Children’s social care assessments should consider where children are being harmed in contexts outside the home, so it is important that schools and colleges provide as much information as possible as part of the referral process. This will allow any assessment to consider all the available evidence and enable a contextual approach to address such harm. Additional information is available here: Contextual Safeguarding.

64. The online tool Report Child Abuse to Your Local Council directs to the relevant local children’s social care contact number.

Record keeping was page 15 now page19

This section now includes additional information to make it clear what should be recorded.

Paragraph 54 becomes 71 & 72

71. All concerns, discussions and decisions made, and the reasons for those decisions, should be recorded in writing. Information should be kept confidential and stored securely. It is good practice to keep concerns and referrals in a separate child protection file for each child.

Records should include:

  • a clear and comprehensive summary of the concern;
  • details of how the concern was followed up and resolved;
  • a note of any action taken, decisions reached and the outcome.

72. If in doubt about recording requirements, staff should discuss with the designated safeguarding lead (or deputy).

Page 21

What school and college staff should do if they have safeguarding concerns about another staff member

74. Schools and colleges should have processes and procedures in place to manage any safeguarding concerns about staff members (including supply staff, volunteers, and contractors). If staff have safeguarding concerns or an allegation is made about another member of staff (including supply staff, volunteers, and contractors) posing a risk of harm to children, then:

  • this should be referred to the headteacher or principal;
  • where there are concerns/allegations about the headteacher or principal, this should be referred to the chair of governors, chair of the management committee or proprietor of an independent school; and
  • in the event of concerns/allegations about the headteacher, where the headteacher is also the sole proprietor of an independent school, or a situation where there is a conflict of interest in reporting the matter to the headteacher, this should be reported directly to the local authority designated officer(s) (LADOs). Details of your local LADO should be easily accessible on your local authority’s website.

Further details can be found in Part four of this guidance.

PART TWO The management of safeguarding was page 18 now page 23

Paragraph 79

This is a new paragraph relating to schools with charitable status with important link to the Charity Commission Guidance

It reads:

79. Where a school or college has charitable status, Charity Commission guidance on charity and trustee duties to safeguard children is available at GOV.UK.

Whole school and college approach to safeguarding page 23 and 24

Paragraph 82

This is a new section on ‘Whole school and college approach to safeguarding’ this make clear the importance of safeguarding. (This approach should also include the children and young people in the school or college)

82. Governing bodies and proprietors should ensure they facilitate a whole school or college approach to safeguarding. This means ensuring safeguarding and child protection are at the forefront and underpin all relevant aspects of process and policy development. Ultimately, all systems, processes and policies should operate with the best interests of the child at their heart.

Paragraph 83

This section is intended to strengthen systems that should be in place and how they should be more child centric. This emphasises the need to include children and young children in both planning and approach to safeguarding making it easier for children and young people to tell what is happening to them.

83. Where there is a safeguarding concern, governing bodies, proprietors and school or college leaders should ensure the child’s wishes and feelings are taken into account when determining what action to take and what services to provide. Systems should be in place, and they should be well promoted, easily understood and easily accessible for children to confidently report abuse, knowing their concerns will be treated seriously, and knowing they can safely express their views and give feedback.

Safeguarding policies and procedure page 24 was 18

Paragraph 85

This paragraph makes reference to peer on peer abuse and reporting systems and added information schools and colleges should include in their child protection policy. (These bullet points collectively will build a preventative, responsive and inclusive policy)

85. These policies should include individual schools and colleges having:

  • an effective child protection policy which:
    • reflects the whole school/college approach to peer on peer abuse (see para 145);
    • reflects reporting systems as set out at paragraph 83;
    • should describe procedures which are in accordance with government guidance;
    • refers to locally agreed multi-agency safeguarding arrangements put in place by the safeguarding partners;
    • includes policies as reflected elsewhere in Part two of this guidance, such as online safety (see paragraph 126), and special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) (see paragraphs 185-187);
    • where appropriate, reflects serious violence. Further advice for schools and colleges is provided in the Home Office’s Preventing youth violence and gang involvement and its Criminal exploitation of children and vulnerable adults: county lines guidance;
    • should be reviewed annually (as a minimum) and updated if needed, so that it is kept up to date with safeguarding issues as they emerge and evolve, including lessons learnt; and
    • is available publicly either via the school or college website or by other means.
  • a behaviour policy, which includes measures to prevent bullying (including cyberbullying, prejudice-based and discriminatory bullying)
  • a staff behaviour policy (sometimes called the code of conduct) which should, amongst other things, include: acceptable use of technologies (including the use of mobile devices), staff/pupil relationships and communications including the use of social media.24
  • appropriate safeguarding arrangements in place to respond to children who go missing from education, particularly on repeat occasions (more information at paragraph 164).
  • Information Sharing page 28 was page 22

Paragraph 105

This is about additional information added which makes clear about powers to hold and use information when promoting children’s welfare (It emphasises the importance of sharing information in identifying and tackling abuse and neglect and that schools and colleges have clear powers to share, hold and use information for safeguarding purposes.)

It reads:

105. Information sharing is vital in identifying and tackling all forms of abuse and neglect, and in promoting children’s welfare, including their educational outcomes. Schools and colleges have clear powers to share, hold and use information for these purposes.

Staff training page 30

Paragraphs 117 & 118

New paragraphs added on the importance of online safety training for staff and the requirement to ensure children are taught about safeguarding, including online safety.

(It also states all safeguarding training including online is regularly updated by all and 118 adds the same importance to managing behaviour effectively with regularly updated training)

117. Governing bodies and proprietors should ensure that, as part of the requirement for staff to undergo regular updated safeguarding training, including online safety (paragraph 114) and the requirement to ensure children are taught about safeguarding, including online safety (paragraph 119), that safeguarding training for staff, including online safety training, is integrated, aligned and considered as part of the whole school or college safeguarding approach and wider staff training and curriculum planning.

118. Whilst considering the above training requirements, governing bodies and proprietors should have regard to the Teachers’ Standards31 which set out the expectation that all teachers manage behaviour effectively to ensure a good and safe educational environment and requires teachers to have a clear understanding of the needs of all pupils.

Opportunities to teach safeguarding was page 24 now 31

Paragraph 121 has been added on a one stop shop for teachers which include teacher training modules on relationships education, relationships and sex education (RSHE)

It reads:

121. The Department has produced a one-stop page for teachers on GOV.UK, which can be accessed here: Teaching about relationships sex and health. This includes teacher training modules on the RSHE topics and non-statutory implementation guidance. The following resources may also help schools and colleges understand and teach about safeguarding:

  • DfE advice for schools: teaching online safety in schools;
  • UK Council for Internet Safety (UKCIS)32 guidance: Education for a
  • connected world;
  • UKCIS guidance: Sharing nudes and semi-nudes: advice for education settings working with children and young people;
  • The UKCIS external visitors guidance will help schools and colleges to ensure the maximum impact of any online safety sessions delivered by external visitors;
  • National Crime Agency's CEOP education programme: Thinkuknow;
  • Public Health England: Rise Above

Pages 32 to 34 is a new section covering online safety

They cover online safety, remote learning, filters and monitoring, information security, cyber crime, reviewing online safety provision and information and support

(They stress the importance of being aware of the complex and large area of information available that needs to be reflected in the school or colleges safeguarding (child protection) policy)

Online Safety page 32

Paragraphs 123-125

123. It is essential that children are safeguarded from potentially harmful and inappropriate online material. An effective whole school and college approach to online safety empowers a school or college to protect and educate pupils, students, and staff in their use of technology and establishes mechanisms to identify, intervene in, and escalate any concerns where appropriate.

124. The breadth of issues classified within online safety is considerable, but can be categorised into four areas of risk:

  • content: being exposed to illegal, inappropriate or harmful content, for example: pornography, fake news, racism, misogyny, self-harm, suicide, anti-Semitism, radicalisation and extremism.
  • contact: being subjected to harmful online interaction with other users; for example: peer to peer pressure, commercial advertising and adults posing as children or young adults with the intention to groom or exploit them for sexual, criminal, financial or other purposes’.
  • conduct: personal online behaviour that increases the likelihood of, or causes, harm; for example, making, sending and receiving explicit images (e.g consensual and non-consensual sharing of nudes and semi-nudes and/or pornography, sharing other explicit images and online bullying; and
  • commerce - risks such as online gambling, inappropriate advertising, phishing and or financial scams. If you feel your pupils, students or staff are at risk, please report it to the Anti-Phishing Working Group (https://apwg.org/).

125. Schools and colleges should ensure online safety is a running and interrelated theme whilst devising and implementing policies and procedures. This will include considering how online safety is reflected as required in all relevant policies and considering online safety whilst planning the curriculum, any teacher training, the role and responsibilities of the designated safeguarding lead and any parental engagement.

Online safety policy page 33

Paragraph 126

126. Online safety and the school or college’s approach to it should be reflected in the child protection policy. Considering the 4Cs (above) will provide the basis of an effective online policy. The school or college should have a clear policy on the use of mobile and smart technology. Amongst other things this will reflect the fact many children have unlimited and unrestricted access to the internet via mobile phone networks (i.e. 3G, 4G and 5G). This access means some children, whilst at school or college, sexually harass their peers via their mobile and smart technology, share indecent images: consensually and non-consensually (often via large chat groups), and view and share pornography and other harmful content. Schools and colleges should carefully consider how this is managed on their premises and reflect in their mobile and smart technology policy and their child protection policy.

Remote learning page 33

Paragraph 127

127. Where children are being asked to learn online at home the Department has provided advice to support schools and colleges do so safely: safeguarding in schools colleges and other providers and safeguarding and remote education. The NSPCC and PSHE Association also provide helpful advice:

  • NSPCC Learning - Undertaking remote teaching safely during school closures
  • PSHE - PSHE Association coronavirus hub

Filters and monitoring pages 33-34

Paragraphs 128-130

128. Whilst considering their responsibility to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and provide them with a safe environment in which to learn, governing bodies and proprietors should be doing all that they reasonably can to limit children’s exposure to the above risks from the school’s or college’s IT system. As part of this process, governing bodies and proprietors should ensure their school or college has appropriate filters and monitoring systems in place. Governing bodies and proprietors should consider the age range of their children, the number of children, how often they access the IT system and the proportionality of costs vs risks.

129. The appropriateness of any filters and monitoring systems are a matter for individual schools and colleges and will be informed in part, by the risk assessment required by the Prevent Duty. 33 The UK Safer Internet Centre has published guidance as to what “appropriate” filtering and monitoring might look like: UK Safer Internet Centre: appropriate filtering and monitoring.

130. Support for schools when considering what to buy and how to buy it is available via the: schools' buying strategy with specific advice on procurement here: buying for schools.

Information security and access management page 34

Paragraph 131

131. Education settings are directly responsible for ensuring they have the appropriate level of security protection procedures in place, in order to safeguard their systems, staff and learners and review the effectiveness of these procedures periodically to keep up with evolving cyber-crime technologies. Guidance on e-security is available from the National Education Network. In addition, broader guidance on cyber security including considerations for governors and trustees can be found at NCSC.GOV.UK.

Reviewing online safety page 34

Paragraphs 132 133 & 134

132. Technology, and risks and harms related to it evolve and changes rapidly. Schools and colleges should consider carrying out an annual review of their approach to online safety, supported by an annual risk assessment that considers and reflects the risks their children face. A free online safety self-review tool for schools can be found via the 360 safe website.

133. UKCIS has published Online safety in schools and colleges: Questions from the governing board. The questions can be used to gain a basic understanding of the current approach to keeping children safe online; learn how to improve this approach where appropriate; and find out about tools which can be used to improve the approach. It has also published an Online Safety Audit Tool which helps mentors of trainee teachers and newly qualified teachers induct mentees and provide ongoing support, development and monitoring.

134. When reviewing online safety provision, the UKCIS external visitors guidance highlights a range of resources which can support educational settings to develop a whole school approach towards online safety.

Information and Support page 34

Paragraph 135

135. There is a wealth of additional information available to support schools, colleges and parents to keep children safe online. A sample is provided at Annex D.

This is the end of the new section on online safety

What school and college staff should do if they have a safeguarding concern or an allegation is made about another staff member page 35

Paragraph 141 & 143 (They are new paragraphs)

(It should be noted that lower level concerns and allegations should be taken seriously as could be part of grooming and must be addressed)

141. ‘Lower level’ concerns and allegations that do not meet the harms test should be addressed as set out in Section two of Part four of this guidance.

143. Where a teacher’s employer, including an agency, dismisses or ceases to use the services of a teacher because of serious misconduct, or might have dismissed them or ceased to use their services had they not left first, they must consider whether to refer the case to the Secretary of State (via the Teaching Regulation Agency). Details about how to make a referral to the Teaching Regulation Agency can be found on GOV.UK

Peer on peer/child on child abuse page 36

Paragraph 145

This provides clearer clarification on peer on peer abuse and makes clear there should be a zero tolerance approach to abuse

145. Governing bodies and proprietors should ensure that their child protection policy includes:

  • procedures to minimise the risk of peer on peer abuse;
  • the systems in place (and they should be well promoted, easily understood and easily accessible) for children to confidently report abuse, knowing their concerns will be treated seriously;
  • how allegations of peer on peer abuse will be recorded, investigated and dealt with;
  • clear processes as to how victims, perpetrators and any other children affected by peer on peer abuse will be supported;
  • a recognition that even if there are no reported cases of peer on peer abuse, such abuse may still be taking place and is simply not being reported;
  • a statement which makes clear there should be a zero-tolerance approach to abuse, and it should never be passed off as “banter”, “just having a laugh”, “part of growing up” or “boys being boys” as this can lead to a culture of unacceptable behaviours and an unsafe environment for children;
  • recognition that it is more likely that girls will be victims and boys’ perpetrators, but that all peer on peer abuse is unacceptable and will be taken seriously; and
  • the different forms peer on peer abuse can take, such as:
    • bullying (including cyberbullying, prejudice-based and discriminatory bullying);
    • abuse in intimate personal relationships between peers;
    • physical abuse which can include hitting, kicking, shaking, biting, hair pulling, or otherwise causing physical harm;
    • sexual violence and sexual harassment. Part five of this guidance and Sexual violence and sexual harassment between children in schools and colleges sets out how schools and colleges should respond to reports of sexual violence and sexual harassment;
    • Consensual and non-consensual sharing of nudes and semi-nude images and/or videos36 (also known as sexting or youth produced sexual imagery): the policy should include the school or college’s approach to it. The Department provides Searching Screening and Confiscation Advice for schools. The UKCIS Education Group has published Sharing nudes and semi-nudes: advice for education settings working with children and young people which outlines how to respond to an incident of nudes and semi-nudes being shared;
    • causing someone to engage in sexual activity without consent, such as forcing someone to strip, touch themselves sexually, or to engage in sexual activity with a third party
    • upskirting (which is a criminal offence37), which typically involves taking a picture under a person’s clothing without their permission, with the intention of viewing their genitals or buttocks to obtain sexual gratification, or cause the victim humiliation, distress, or alarm; and
    • initiation/hazing type violence and rituals.

Use of school or college premises for non-school activities page 39

Paragraphs 155 &156

These new paragraphs cover the use of school premises for non school/college activities

(This is important information and should form part of any use of school/college premises. This should be built into procedures and written contracts as such)

155. Where governing bodies or proprietors hire or rent out school or college facilities/premises to organisations or individuals (for example to community groups, sports associations, and service providers to run community or extra-curricular activities) they should ensure that appropriate arrangements are in place to keep children safe.

156. When services or activities are provided by the governing body or proprietor, under the direct supervision or management of their school or college staff, their arrangements for child protection will apply. However, where services or activities are provided separately by another body this is not necessarily the case. The governing body or proprietor should therefore seek assurance that the body concerned has appropriate safeguarding and child protection policies and procedures in place (including inspecting these as needed); and ensure that there are arrangements in place to liaise with the school or college on these matters where appropriate. The governing body or proprietor should also ensure safeguarding requirements are included in any transfer of control agreement (i.e. lease or hire agreement), as a condition of use and occupation of the premises; and that failure to comply with this would lead to termination of the agreement.

Alternative provision page 40

Paragraphs 157 & 158

These paragraphs are new on alternative provision. They make clear that governing bodies and proprietors of these settings should be aware of the additional risk of harm their pupils may be vulnerable to.

157. The cohort of pupils in Alternative Provision often have complex needs, it is important that governing bodies and proprietors of these settings are aware of the additional risk of harm that their pupils may be vulnerable to.

158. The Department has issued two pieces of statutory guidance to which commissioners of Alternative Provision should have regard:

Alternative provision - DfE Statutory Guidance; and

Education for children with health needs who cannot attend school - DfE

Statutory Guidance

Elective Home Education pages 41 &42

Paragraphs 165-168

These are new paragraphs about elective home education and includes the role and duties of schools when a parent removes a child or young person from the school

165. Many home educated children have an overwhelmingly positive learning experience. We would expect the parents’ decision to home educate to be made with their child’s best education at the heart of the decision. However, this is not the case for all, and home education can mean some children are less visible to the services that are there to keep them safe and supported in line with their needs.

166. From September 2016 the Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006 were amended so that schools must inform their LA of all deletions from their admission register when a child is taken off roll.

167. Where a parent/carer has expressed their intention to remove a child from school with a view to educating at home, we recommend that LAs, schools, and other key professionals work together to coordinate a meeting with parents/carers where possible. Ideally, this would be before a final decision has been made, to ensure the parents/carers have considered what is in the best interests of each child. This is particularly important where a child has SEND, is vulnerable, and/or has a social worker.

168. DfE guidance for local authorities on Elective home education sets out the role and responsibilities of LAs and their powers to engage with parents in relation to EHE. Although this is primarily aimed at LAs, schools should also be familiar with this guidance.

Children requiring mental health support page 42 & 43

Paragraphs 172 -175

This is additional information about the DFE’s program to help schools and colleges with preventing and tackling bullying, mental health and behaviour in schools

172. The Department has published advice and guidance on Preventing and Tackling Bullying, Mental Health and Behavior in Schools (which may also be useful for colleges). The Mental Health and Behavior in Schools guidance sets out how schools and colleges can help prevent mental health problems by promoting resilience as part of an integrated, whole school/college approach to social and emotional wellbeing, which is tailored to the needs of their pupils.

173. The senior mental health lead role is not mandatory and different senior leads will inevitably have different levels of knowledge and skills to promote wellbeing and mental health, and different responsibilities, as roles are locally defined to fit in with other relevant roles and responsibilities. However, we expect a senior mental health lead in a school/college will be a member of, or supported by the senior leadership team, and could be the pastoral lead, SENCO, or designated safeguarding lead. We are aware most schools and colleges already have a senior mental health lead in place.

174. From September 2021, up to 7,800 schools and colleges will be able to access senior mental health leads training. Settings will have the opportunity to opt-in for a fixed value grant and will be supported to identify the most appropriate learning from a list of quality assured courses. Settings ready to develop or introduce their whole school or college approach to mental health and wellbeing, with capacity to undertake training before March 2022, will be encouraged to apply. Further information on how schools and colleges can do this - and how they can identify and book the most appropriate training for them - will be provided nearer the time.

175. In addition, Public Health England has produced a range of resources to support secondary schools to promote positive health, wellbeing and resilience among children including its guidance Promoting children and young people’s emotional health and wellbeing. Its resources include social media, forming positive relationships, smoking and alcohol. See Rise Above for links to all materials and lesson plans. The Department has also published, ‘Every interaction matters’, a pre-recorded webinar which provides staff with a simple framework for promoting wellbeing, resilience, and mental health. This sits alongside our Wellbeing for education recovery program content, which covers issues such as bereavement, loss, anxiety, stress and trauma.

PART THREE Safer recruitment page 37

The whole of this part has been substantively restructured to align it with the recruitment process. There has been no change in legal duties.

Pre-appointment vetting checks, regulated activity and recording information page 52

Paragraph 212

This is added information about the Education and Training (Welfare of Children) Act 2021 which extends safeguarding provisions to post 16 education.

212. The Education and Training (Welfare of Children) Act 2021 extended safeguarding provisions to providers of post 16 Education; 16-19 Academies, Special Post-16 institutions and Independent Training Providers. Some safer recruitment regulations do not apply to these providers and as such some of the “musts” for colleges do not apply to them. These checks are an essential part of safeguarding, carried out to help employers check the suitability of candidates. Therefore, the providers set out above should carry out these pre appointment checks. This has been made clear via footnotes.

Paragraph 213 page 52

This paragraph has added information about the use of birth certificates (where available) to check an individual’s identity.

213. All offers of appointment should be conditional until satisfactory completion of the mandatory pre-employment checks. All Schools and colleges must:

  • verify a candidate’s identity, it is important to be sure that the person is who they claim to be, this includes being aware of the potential for individuals changing their name. Best practice is checking the name on their birth certificate, where this is available. Further identification checking guidelines can be found on the GOV.UK website.

There are a further 10 bullet points which must be followed

Paragraph 229 page 59

This explains when separate barred list checks must be carried out.

229. Separate barred list checks must only be carried out in the following circumstances:

  • for newly appointed staff who are engaging in regulated activity, pending the receipt of an Enhanced Certificate with Barred List information from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) (and where all other relevant checks as per paragraph 213 have been carried out); or,
  • where an individual has worked in a post in a school or college that brought them into regular contact with children or young persons which ended not more than three months prior to that person’s appointment to the organisation (and where all other relevant checks as per paragraph 213 have been carried out).

Secretary of state section under 128 directions page 63-80

Paragraph 237

This paragraph gives clarification about section 128 directions

237. A section 128 direction prohibits or restricts an unsuitable individual from participating in the management of an independent school, including academies and free schools. An individual who is subject to a section 128 direction is unable to:

  • take up a management position in an independent school, academy, or in a free school as an employee;
  • be a trustee of an academy or free school trust; a governor or member of a proprietor body of an independent school; or
  • be a governor on any governing body in an independent school, academy or free school that retains or has been delegated any management responsibilities.

How to check TRA, Teachers Employer Access dervice for prohibitions, direction, sanctions and restrictions Page 64

Paragraph 242

This paragraph provides clarification on how to check prohibitions, directions, sanctions, and restrictions, includeing the children’s barred list checks.

242. Schools and colleges77 can use the TRA’s Employer Access service to make prohibition, direction, restriction, and children’s barred list checks. The service is free to use and is available via the TRA’s web page. Users will require a DfE Sign-in account to log onto the service.

Individuals who have lived or worked outside the UK page 67

Paragraph 262

This paragraph clarifies overseas checks and what further checks could include.

262. Individuals who have lived or worked outside the UK must85 undergo the same checks as all other staff in schools or colleges (set out in paragraphs 213). This includes obtaining (via the applicant) an enhanced DBS certificate (including barred list information, for those who will be engaging in regulated activity) even if the individual has never been to the UK. In addition, schools and colleges must86 make any further checks they think appropriate so that any relevant events that occurred outside the UK can be considered. Following the UK’s exit from the EU, schools and colleges should apply the same approach for any individuals who have lived or worked outside the UK regardless of whether or not it was in an EEA country or the rest of the world.

  • These checks could include, where available:
    criminal records checks for overseas applicants - Home Office guidance can be found on GOV.UK; and for teaching positions
  • obtaining a letter (via the applicant) from the professional regulating authority in the country (or countries) in which the applicant has worked confirming that they have not imposed any sanctions or restrictions, and or that they are aware of any reason why they may be unsuitable to teach87. Applicants can find contact details of regulatory bodies in the EU/EEA and Switzerland on the Regulated Professions database. Applicants can also contact the UK Centre for Professional Qualifications who will signpost them to the appropriate EEA regulatory body.

PART FOUR Allegations made against/ Concerns raised in relation to teachers, including supply teachers, other staff, volunteers and contractors  section one page 81 – 95 section two page 95 – 99

Following requests via the consultation for further information on low level concerns, has been separated.

Part four is now into two sections

  • Section one for allegations that may meet the threshold and
  • Section two for allegations/concerns that do not meet the threshold i.e. low level concerns.

Section two information about concerns that do not meet the harm threshold has been included.

This includes:

  • what a low level concern is
  • making the link between low level concerns, staff code of conduct and safeguarding policies, and
  • recording and sharing information with relevant parties including whether this information should be included in references.

Page 95

What is a low level concern?

409. The term ‘low-level’ concern does not mean that it is insignificant, it means that the behaviour towards a child does not meet the threshold set out at paragraph 338. A low-level concern is any concern – no matter how small, and even if no more than causing a sense of unease or a ‘nagging doubt’ - that an adult working in or on behalf of the school or college may have acted in a way that:

  • is inconsistent with the staff code of conduct, including inappropriate conduct outside of work; and
  • does not meet the allegations threshold or is otherwise not considered serious enough to consider a referral to the LADO.

410. Examples of such behaviour could include, but are not limited to:

  • being over friendly with children;
  • having favourites;
  • taking photographs of children on their mobile phone;
  • engaging with a child on a one-to-one basis in a secluded area or behind a closed door; or,
  • using inappropriate sexualised, intimidating or offensive language.


411. Such behaviour can exist on a wide spectrum, from the inadvertent or thoughtless, or behaviour that may look to be inappropriate, but might not be in specific circumstances, through to that which is ultimately intended to enable abuse.

412. It is crucial that any such concerns, including those which do not meet the harm threshold (see Part Four - Section one), are shared responsibly and with the right person, and recorded and dealt with appropriately. Ensuring they are dealt with effectively should also protect those working in or on behalf of schools and colleges from potential false allegations or misunderstandings.

PART FIVE Child on child sexual violence and sexual harassment page 100 – 119

Paragraphs 428 – 434

There is a reminder that these paragraphs must be read alongside the Sexual violence and sexual harassment advice. It makes clear that these issues can happen inside or outside of school.

Responding to reports of sexual violence and sexual harassment page 101

Paragraph 435 – 436

These are new paragraphs highlighting the importance of acknowledging and understanding the scale of harassment and and abuse

435. Part two of this guidance is clear that systems should be in place (and they should be well promoted, easily understood and easily accessible) for children to confidently report abuse, knowing their concerns will be treated seriously.

436. Schools and colleges not recognising, acknowledging or understanding the scale of harassment and abuse and/or downplaying some behaviours related to abuse can lead to a culture of unacceptable behaviour, an unsafe environment and in worst case scenarios a culture that normalises abuse leading to children accepting it as normal and not coming forward to report it.

The immediate response to a report page 102

Responding to a report

Paragraph 441

This is a new paragraph which highlights the need to be aware that children might not tell

Staff about their abuse and it maybe that staff overhear a conversation or the child’s behaviour changes etc.

441. It is important to note that children may not find it easy to tell staff about their abuse verbally. Children can show signs or act in ways that they hope adults will notice and react to. In some cases, the victim may not make a direct report. For example, a friend may make a report or a member of school or college staff may overhear a conversation that suggests a child has been harmed or a child’s own behaviour might indicate that something is wrong. As per Part one of this guidance, if staff have any concerns about a child’s welfare, they should act on them immediately rather than wait to be told.

Paragraph 442

This is new information to highlight that how a school or college responds to an incident will impact future victims of sexual violence or sexual harassment.

442. The school’s or college’s initial response to a report from a child is incredibly important. How the school or college responds to a report can encourage or undermine the confidence of future victims of sexual violence and sexual harassment to report or come forward.

Paragraph 450

Highlights a zero tolerance approach to sexual violence and sexual harassment.

450. The starting point regarding any report should always be that there is a zero tolerance approach to sexual violence and sexual harassment and it is never acceptable and it will not be tolerated. It is especially important not to pass off any sexual violence or sexual harassment as “banter”, “just having a laugh”, “part of growing up” or “boys being boys” as this can lead to a culture of unacceptable behaviours and an unsafe environment for children.

Options to manage a report page 107

Paragraph 452

Provides clarification about regularly reviewing actions e.g. for patterns of inappropriate behaviour and bail conditions.

This paragraph is broken into 4 sections and covers pages 107 – 111 and should be read directly from the Guidance.

Unsubstantiated, unfounded, false or malicious reports page 111

Paragraphs 454 - 455

New section on unsubstantiated, unfounded, false or malicious reports which provides a reminder about recording concerns and what to do when a report is found to be unsubstantiated, unfounded, false or malicious.

454. If a report is determined to be unsubstantiated, unfounded, false or malicious, the designated safeguarding lead should consider whether the child and/or the person who has made the allegation is in need of help or may have been abused by someone else and this is a cry for help. In such circumstances, a referral to children’s social care may be appropriate.

455. If a report is shown to be deliberately invented or malicious, the school or college, should consider whether any disciplinary action is appropriate against the individual who made it as per their own behaviour policy.

Ongoing response

Safeguarding and supporting the victim page 112

Paragraph 456

This is a reminder to schools and colleges that sexual assault can result in a range of health needs and signposts to sources of support.

This lengthy reminder should be read within the guidance pages 112 – 114

Safeguarding and supporting the alleged perpetrator(s) and children young people who have displayed harmful sexual behaviour page 114

Paragraph 464

This paragraph provides further information about harmful sexual behaviour and signposting to sources of support.

Annex A

Safeguarding information for school and college staff page 120

A new condensed version of Part one of Keeping children safe in education. It can be provided (instead of Part one) to those staff who do not directly work with children, if the governing body or proprietor think it will provide a better basis for those staff to promote the welfare and safeguard children.

Annex B

Further Information page 125

Now added:

  • Child criminal exploitation and child sexual exploitation, further information to clarify these types of abuse.
  • Modern slavery and the National Referral Mechanism, additional information provided.
  • County lines, additional information.
  • Cybercrime, new paragraphs added.
  • Peer on Peer abuse, additional information added.
  • Preventing radicalisation, additional information provided on what terrorism looks like and more information on Channel.

Annex C page 145

The role of the designated safeguarding lead

Now added:

Information sharing and child protection file, Information added about keeping and storing records, where a concern about a child has been identified.

Removed bullet points that were duplicated.

Annex D page 152

Online Safety

Information and support

Added and updated links to further guidance

Annex D & E

No changes

Annex G page 161

Table of substantive changes to come into force September 2021