Keeping Children Safe in Education

Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSiE) 2021 has some changes which we set outbelow. Safeguarding Network is here to help your DSL implement the changes. We provide much of the framework to tailor to your setting to ensure nothing is missed, and save you time to focus on the business of keeping children safe in education.

On this page:

Summary of key changes:

The concept of a shortened version of Part One (found in the consultation document at Annex A) was first introduced in the February 2020 consultation. Although not added to 2020 version of KCSiE, it has been reintroduced in this consultation. It is aimed at those staff who do not have direct contact with children and young people. The key message is that everyone needs to understand their safeguarding responsibilities, but schools have the ability to determine who should read which version. In the consultation document the DfE explain the rationale for this as “There is an argument that the detail in Part one is excessive for those staff who do not regularly work directly with children, such as caterers and cleaners, to fulfil their safeguarding responsibilities. Some stakeholders have suggested that the level of detail currently in Part one obscures the basic message, i.e. if you see something, say something.”   The DfE propose that governors and proprietors have the final decision as to whether and when the shortened version is used.

The summary has also had a paragraph added clearly stating that the responsibility to ensure staff are supported to understand and discharge their role and responsibilities under Part one sits with governors and proprietors asking more of governors by setting out the expectation that they put in place a ‘whole school and college approach to safeguarding’, ensuring safeguarding underpins all aspects of process and policy. The policy framework itself has been tightened.

This remains the main section that all staff are required to read (with the proviso set out above).  As highlighted in the consultation document, several key themes have been integrated into this Part as well as the rest of the document, the consultation document advising “Given their profile we included additional content on child criminal exploitation, child sexual exploitation and serious violence in Part one and Annex B of KCSIE 2020 to better help schools and colleges understand how to identify children at risk from these harms.” Safeguarding Network members have bite-size in-house training packs to support staff development ahead of the implementation of the guidance (see links below where relevant):

  • Adds explicit statement that role of school and college staff includes promoting the child’s welfare.
  • Adds expectation that behaviour policy includes measures to prevent bullying and cyberbullying.
  • Add expectation that “all staff should receive appropriate safeguarding and child protection training (including online safety) at induction, and that online safety training is provided as part of regular updates.” Emphasis on impact of technology on increasing risks to children added throughout.
  • Adds further wording to reinforce that potential for exploitation (criminal, sexual or otherwise) and child mental health issues are recognised as areas of vulnerability.
  • Wording changed to be explicit in relation to what youth produced sexual imagery is meaning it is redefined as sharing nudes or semi-nude images/videos.
  • Peer on peer abuse widened to include abuse in intimate personal relationships between peers.
  • Wording added to reinforce that information sharing should take place regardless of what level of involvement there is from other agencies, and reinforcing that the GDPR and Data Protection Act 2018 do not prevent the sharing of information. Also looks to reinforce that information sharing should be with the right people between and within agencies.
  • Wording added to reinforce the need to refer concerns to Children’s Social Care and when doing so consider what is known about the child’s wider context (i.e. contextual safeguarding).
  • Adds cross-reference to Working Together Chapter one for information about the social care assessment process and the serious case review process.
  • Schools and colleges should have processes and procedures in place to manage safeguarding concerns about staff members (including supply staff and volunteers). Safeguarding Network has a template policy at low cost – please contact us for details.

The consultation document looks at two significant areas of change, focusing on online safety and the designated safeguarding lead.

In relation to online safety, the consultation document identifies that a significant amount of information has been moved from the current Annex C to the main body of the document, stating: “This proposed change gives online safety the prominence it deserves in the main body of the guidance, it does not introduce new burdens or processes, but it does makes clear that the management of online safety sits alongside, and should be considered with, broader safeguarding requirements and the whole school or college safeguarding approach.”

With regards the role of the DSL, the consultation identifies that the DSL has a vital role in relation to safeguarding all children, but that the DfE also recognise that the Children in Need review identified that children who have needed a social worker often have poor educational outcomes.  Their stated aim is therefore ensuring that “DSLs, schools and colleges have the capacity and support to provide the right help for this group of children.”  This change is also evidenced in Annex C (see comments below).

In Part two, we have therefore identified the following changes:

  • Adds following paragraph to reinforce role of governors:

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. 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 for children to express their views and give feedback.

  • Adds expectations that the child protection policy “includes policies as reflected elsewhere in Part two of this guidance, such as online safety, peer on peer abuse and special educational needs and disabilities (SEND)”, as well as “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”. In relation to SEND, explicitly adds children with certain health / medical conditions and expects that the additional challenges these children face are in the policy.
  • Requires that governors also ensure there are safer recruitment policies in place and that more than one contact number is held for each pupil.
  • Clarifies the role of governors in ensuring that there are clear processes and arrangements in place for sharing information.
  • Adds expectation on governors and proprietors to ensure that:

Governing bodies and proprietors should ensure that, as part of the requirement for staff to undergo regularly updated safeguarding training, including online safety (paragraph 101) and the requirement to ensure children are taught about safeguarding, including online safety (paragraph 106), that safeguarding training for staff, including online safety training, is integrated, aligned and considered as part of the whole school or college safeguarding approach.

Whilst considering the above training requirements, governing bodies and proprietors should have regard to the Teachers’ Standards 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.

  • Enhances section in relation to boarding and residential schools to incorporate the information that is currently in Annex D, ensuring there is clear reference to other standards that such settings are expected to adhere to.
  • Section added relating to the use of school or college premises for non-school/college activities. Places emphasis on governors and proprietors to ensure that the groups using the facilities have appropriate arrangements in place to keep children safe.
  • The section on Alternative Provision (para 142) has been reframed to ensure governors know about the additional risk of harm and refers to the Alternative Provision guidance and statutory guidance for children with health needs who cannot attend school.
  • Paragraph added on children missing from education to emphasise that such behaviour can be an indicator of abuse and that any response support identification of abuse.
  • Governors should ensure regular safeguarding and online safety training for staff, that children are taught about safeguarding and online safety, and that this is “integrated, aligned and considered as part of the whole school or college safeguarding approach”.

The proposed document brings in significant revisions of part three from previous versions to be more explicit about the safer recruitment process and ensuring the guidance fits with the different stages of the process that providers are expected to go through, with an emphasis on the need to ensure that those involved in recruitment and employment of staff have received safer recruitment training.

As well as reframing the existing section to be more explicit about each step of the process, there is an additional section about ensuring the ongoing safeguarding of children and legal reporting duties on employers which consolidates existing expectations to refer to various bodies if there are concerns about an individual.

Main body now also incorporates what was originally in Annex G (i.e. information about the types of disclosure and barring service checks that are available).

Despite all the revisions of structure however there are no changes to the statutory requirements that have been placed on schools and colleges.  In the consultation, the DfE highlight that:

We believe (a view also shared by a significant number of our stakeholders) that Part three potentially overly focuses on DBS checking, as part of the safer recruitment process, and does not place enough emphasis on encouraging schools and colleges to have in place an ongoing culture of vigilance. We want to encourage schools and colleges to broaden the information they draw on as part of the recruitment process to ensure unsuitable people are not given the opportunity to work with children. To support this, we think Part three should be restructured so that it follows more closely the recruitment practices followed by most employers.

Again, there are no changes made to the statutory requirements, however there has been substantial changes to the structure of this section, with the DfE proposing that the changes that are made will more closely align with the process of handling an allegation.  There is a widening of responsibilities to investigate allegations of abuse to include contractors and the head teacher or principal is typically required to lead the investigation and in addition, we have identified the following:

  • New paragraph which sets out that governors and proprietors need to have policies in place to deal with concerns that do not meet the threshold for referral to the LADO.
  • New section expanding on the initial response to an allegation and meeting the need to look after the welfare of the child alongside investigating / supporting the person who is the subject of the allegation. Sets out what information the LADO might need and considers the two possible outcomes of the discussion with the LADO (i.e. no further action or further enquiries).
  • Contractors are added into the purview of the school or college, who will retain responsibility for the investigation.
  • There is a specific paragraph on allegations against governors (para 329) which confirms they are subject to the same processes as others.
  • Where the LADO is not involved in reviewing the case and learning lessons, the case manager should undertake this.
  • Non recent abuse, however old, should be reported to the Police.

The DfE identify that the underlying rationale for changes to this section is to strengthen the understanding of staff and provide better practical advice and support to staff when dealing with such situations.  Of note we have identified:

  • This part now begins with a clear definition of child on child sexual violence or sexual harassment. There is specific guidance around this area which is also open to consultation at present.
  • Additional information added to look at the barriers that children and young people may face to tell professionals what is happening, and that the first approach may not be about the only incident that has happened.
  • Additional wording emphasising that sexual violence and sexual harassment can take place within intimate personal relationships between peers.
  • Confirmation that “early help and the option to manage a report internally do not need to be mutually exclusive: a school could manage internally and seek early help for both the victim and perpetrator(s).”
  • Identification of additional support available to victims, i.e. early help, CAMHS.

Annex A – Safeguarding information for school and college staff – New annexe providing a condensed version of Part one.  Guidance at beginning states: “The following is a condensed version of Part one of Keeping children safe in education. It can be provided (instead of Part 1) 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 – No significant changes.  Additional section on child abduction and community safety incidents.

Annex C – Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) – As we saw above, the consultation is aiming to determine how to ensure that DSL’s have the support that they need.  Annex C has therefore had some additions around expectations on the DSL to reflect the ever developing role. Additional sections have been added on ensuring that DSLs understand local processes and procedures, can support staff, know about holding and sharing information, are able to respond to specific needs and harms and understand the views of children.

Promote educational outcomes by knowing the welfare, safeguarding and child protection issues experienced by children and young people and the potential impact on attendance, engagement and achievement. Working with the head teacher and other staff the DSL will have lead responsibility for:

    • Ensuring the setting knows who is in need of social worker, understand their academic progress  and maintain a culture of high aspirations
    • Support teaching staff to feel confident to provide additional academic support/reasonable adjustments for children who need or have needed a social worker, recognising the lasting impact on educational outcomes

The duties around ensuring the CP file is stored and transferred safely are clarified with a 5 day window and extended to ensuring information about the young person’s circumstances are not lost during the transfer

The duties around ensuring the CP file is stored and transferred safely are clarified with a 5 day window and extended to ensuring information about the young person’s circumstances are not lost during the transfer

Members only content:

The following resources are available for free or discounted prices for all Safeguarding Network members. To become a member and get instant access to all these additional resources click 'Become a member' here or the button below.

We’ve a Keeping Children Safe in Education Knowledge Check to easily manage the process of ensuring people are familiar with KCSiE and the relevant school policies. This online tool is sent direct to all your staff and volunteers and includes:

  • A link to the guidance
  • All staff confirm they have understand and can apply the 2020 guidance
  • All staff confirm they have read your child protection, behaviour, code of conduct and whistleblowing policies
  • A quiz on staff knowledge of the guidance
  • A scenario to test applied knowledge
  • A Keeping Children Safe in Education 2020 certificate if they attain a sufficient mark
  • Live completion tracking data, reminders and an easy process to add new users through the year
  • Reports for the DSL to evidence staff have understand and can apply the guidance.

No more signing a sheet to say it has been read!

The Knowledge Check is only 99p+VAT per person for members (£9 for non-members). Membership is £99+VAT a term with no tie in and gives you access to all our materials to support the new guidance and create a structured, robust and evidenced approach to in-house safeguarding training and awareness in your school. Read more about membership, or contact us if you’ve any questions.

Ofsted guidance on inspecting safeguarding in early years, education and skills settings set out that.

Inspectors will be looking to ensure:

There are clear and effective arrangements for staff development and training in respect of the protection and care of children and learners.

para 13 Ofsted Inspecting Safeguarding guidance

Plan your year ahead ensuring there are regular slots in staff meetings to cover safeguarding and build your staff team knowledge throughout the year. McElearney et al. (2019) highlight seven characteristics of effective safeguarding CPD for teachers.

We have built these into our safeguarding training approach:

  • A focus on student outcomes
  • Collaboration
  • Reflection
  • Specialist expertise
  • Sustained over time
  • A supportive school culture
  • Incorporating models of effective practice

We suggest schools take 15-20 minutes a month for this reflective space out of their staff meetings and develop a cohesive curriculum for staff safeguarding training, rather than simply a responsive slot. We’ve a 2-year programme that covers every area required by Keeping Children Safe in Education and have created expertly designed and quality assured presentations, quizzes, handouts and true-to-life scenarios to build a strong safeguarding culture together across the school so that staff recognise potential issues and have a calm, balanced and confident approach to looking after your children and young people. Join now for immediate access.

Free article on safeguarding training

You’re welcome to read more about the requirements around safeguarding training for educational settings in our recent Safeguarding Insight.

Join the KCSiE Free Webinar

Tuesday 29th June at 4:30pm

- All the key updates of KCSiE - what you need to know

- What the updates mean in practice - what do you need to do

- Live Q&A session with our highly experienced safeguarding team

- Bonus powerpoint presentation to use to brief your other staff members

- Sneak peak of Safeguarding Network members’ only content

- Exclusive membership offer

- Recorded session available if you can’t make it on the day?

How to brief staff:

Have staff read KCSiE 2021?

You will need to compile evidence that staff have read, understood and can apply the new Keeping Children Safe in Education guidance. We’ve some suggestions about how to make this easier and more robust, including our Keeping Children Safe in Education quiz.

Do staff have to read Part 1 (again!)?

It’s crucial that you ensure all staff are familiar with the contents of Part 1 and, where appropriate, Annex A. How you do this is a matter for your discretion. The guidance is clear that you must “ensure that all staff in [your] school or college read at least Part one of this guidance”.

It’s also not just about reading the document, as the guidance also says that there is a requirement leaders “should ensure that mechanisms are in place to assist staff to understand and discharge their role and responsibilities as set out in Part one of this guidance.”

Who reads what…

● Everyone– should read & understand their responsibilities as described in part 1

● All staff with direct contact with children should read annex A and should also have read ‘Sexual Violence & Sexual Harm between children in schools & colleges’ (DfE May 2018 – Our Sexual Violence & Sexual Harassment elearning is useful here.

● HTs / Principals and DSLs should read the whole thing (DSLs should ensure annex B is included in their job description)

● HTs / SLT/ Des staff and behaviour leads should read part 5

● Proprietors should read part 2, part 3 esp paras 192 – 195, part 4 & 5

● Governors should read part 2 as a minimum, but be aware they’re responsible for compliance in Parts 3,4,5

● Designated governor should read the whole of the guidance

● Anyone involved in recruitment and / or SCR(including recruiters / managers of volunteers should read part 3 + annex F & G

● Anyone involved in MFL / other school exchanges should read part 3 paras 207 – 210 and annex E

● HR people should read it all but concentrate on parts 3 & 4 + annex F & G

● WRL coordinators should read part 3 paras 202 – 206 and annex F

● Anyone in classroom based roles, ICT, network staff should read annex C

(With thanks to Carolyn Eyre, safeguarding consultant, for devising this section.)

Free staff, SLT & governor briefing

We’ve written a Keeping Children Safe in Education 2020 staff briefing which you are welcome to download and adapt to your setting. There’s also a free webinar aimed at DSLs and senior leaders. We hope you find it useful and it saves you some time.


● Review of children in need

Information on the government’s policy to support children in need and build the evidence base on how to improve their educational outcomes.

● Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) and Health Education and Safeguarding

Chris Freestone has a look at the current situation around sex and relationships guidance.

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© Safeguarding Network 2021


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