2 September 2019 has seen a new KCSIE. Given that last year saw a significant revision of the guidance, this year's changes are relatively few.
Nevertheless, KCSIE is statutory guidance and sets out what all schools and colleges in England must do to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people under the age of 18. This article looks at the main changes.
A new law makes particular acts of voyeurism, commonly known as 'upskirting', a criminal offence. Victims may be male or female, adults or children. KCSIE 2019 refers to upskirting as a specific example of abuse of a child by another child (peer on peer abuse).
If a pupil is concerned that they have been the victim of upskirting by a fellow pupil, schools should ensure that staff follow the school’s processes for dealing with peer on peer abuse and know to speak to the Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL).
Serious Violent Crime
KCSIE 2019 requires all staff to be alert to indicators that may signal that children are at risk from, or involved with, serious violent crime. Such indicators 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
- signs of assault or unexplained injuries
- unexplained gifts or new possessions
Schools should familiarise themselves with the Home Office County Lines guidance, Criminal Exploitation of children and vulnerable adults: County Lines guidance. This guidance contains information on combatting gangs and organised criminal networks who may be exploiting children to move and store drugs.
The final version of KCSIE now includes additional information that schools should be alert to when considering information sharing.
Schools should not provide pupils' education data where the serious harm test under the GDPR and Data Protection Act 2018 legislation is met. This means that schools should withhold education data under the GDPR where the serious harm test is satisfied. An example of which may be where a child is in a refuge.
This exemption is specific to subject access requests - the change does not impact the need to share safeguarding information with other agencies, eg Children's Services.
Local Safeguarding Arrangements
All references to Local Safeguarding Children Boards (LSCBs) have been removed from KCSIE 2019 and replaced by references to local safeguarding partners.
The safeguarding partners are a team of key professionals from three sectors:
- the local authority
- the Clinical Commissioning Group for any area that falls under the local authority
- the Chief Officer of police for any area that falls under the local authority
Together, these safeguarding partners are in charge of implementing new safeguarding strategies to improve the provision of safeguarding and child protection arrangements in the local area.
Safeguarding partners should have published a local threshold document and a local protocol for assessment which will apply when dealing with safeguarding cases at school. Ask the Designated Safeguarding Lead for further information about these if you are unsure.
Opportunities to Teach Safeguarding
KCSIE 2019 reminds schools that they should consider opportunities for teaching safeguarding as part of a broad and balanced curriculum. This can be covered in Relationships Education/ Relationships and Sex Education which will become mandatory subjects from September 2020.
What Are the Next Steps for Schools?
- Ensure that your staff read part 1 and (where they have direct contact with children) Annex A of the new guidance.
While all of the changes should be highlighted to staff, staff training should, as a priority, include details on the new local safeguarding arrangements. It is important staff understand the arrangements of their particular school referral structure and not just a generic understanding of the referral process.
- Update your policies.
- Child protection and safeguarding - all of the changes above will need to be incorporated and specific reference made to the new local safeguarding arrangements.
- Online safety, acceptable use, anti-bullying and behaviour and discipline - should reflect the change in the law regarding 'upskirting'.
- Missing pupil policy - should include reference to the indicators for involvement in serious violence.
- Pupil welfare risk assessment policy - review is necessary to make sure staff are able to respond to and manage incidences of peer-on-peer violence or risk of involvement in serious violence appropriately.
My OnStream provides an effective method of ensuring that all staff have read Part 1 KCSIE and accompanying training to demonstrate understanding focusing on the main changes. There is also an e-learning module on all the recent safeguarding developments to ensure your staff are aware and up to date. To learn more about My OnStream or book a demo, please contact Jo Oliver.