The DfE updated its Statutory Guidance Keeping Children Safe in Education which became operational on 5 September 2016 (the “2016 Guidance”) and which schools are required to comply with unless exceptional circumstances arise.

Many of the changes in the 2016 Guidance increase the focus on the Prevent Duty and it is likely that future school inspections will look for evidence that schools have the right monitoring and filtering systems on its networks, as well as having the right policies in place. Key changes in the 2016 Guidance which relate to the Prevent Duty include:

Annex A sets out updated guidance in relation to:

  • children missing from education;
  • child sexual exploitation;
  • so called honour based violence (including the mandatory reporting requirement for teachers regarding FGM);
  • an updated definition of “abuse”; and
  • duty to preventing radicalisation.

Annex C sets out updated guidance on online safety. Online safety training for staff should be integrated as part of the overarching safeguarding approach at the school. In addition, the appropriateness of any filters and monitoring systems should be informed, in part, by the risk assessment required by the Prevent Duty. In monitoring pupils’ use of online resources, schools should be careful that “over blocking” does not lead to unreasonable restrictions as to what children can be taught with regards to online teaching and safeguarding.

Schools are advised to review their Safeguarding and other policies in light of the changes in the 2016 Guidance and ensure their policies are up to date.