KCSIE stands for Keeping Children Safe in Education 2023 and goes hand in hand with the Designated Safeguarding Lead DSL responsibilities. It is a set of rules mandated by the DfE under Section 175 of the Education Act 2002. These guidelines outline the obligatory responsibilities that educational institutions, including schools, colleges, and other learning establishments in England, must adhere to in order to ensure the protection and advancement of the well-being of individuals under eighteen years of age.
Initially launched in 2014, the directive aimed to establish the acknowledgment of educational staff as crucial participants in the protection of children and adolescents. It also aimed to highlight the education sector’s significance as an integral element of the broader safeguarding framework.
KCSIE is a 179-page document and is organised into five parts which are as follows:
Part 1: Safeguarding information for all staff – This part should be read and understood by all school and college staff. Part 1 of the guidance is also available as a standalone document. Staff who do not work directly with children on a regular basis can read a shortened version of Part 1 (found in Annex A)
Part 2: The management of safeguarding – This part is aimed at headteachers, designated safeguarding lead‘s (DSL) and their teams, and governors. It outlines the responsibilities of governing bodies, proprietors and management committees
Part 4: Allegations made against/concerns raised in relation to teachers, including supply teachers, other staff, volunteers and contractors
Part 5: Child-on-child sexual violence and sexual harassment. This section was expanded in the 2022 version of KCSIE, and incorporated the previously separate DfE non-statutory advice entitled Sexual violence and sexual harassment between children in schools and colleges
There are also six annexes at the end of the guidance which are:
Annex A which is a shortened version of Part 1 that can be read and understood by staff who do not work directly with children, such as school keepers
Annex B which should also be read and understood by all staff as it includes further guidance on specific safeguarding issues such as:
- child abduction and community safety incidents
- child criminal exploitation (CCE) and child sexual exploitation (CSE)
- County lines
- children and the court system
- children missing from education
- children with family members in prison
- domestic abuse
- mental health
- modern slavery and the National Referral Mechanism
- preventing radicalisation
- The Prevent duty and Channel
- sexual violence and sexual harassment between children in schools and colleges
- serious violence
- so-called ‘honour-based’ abuse (including female genital mutilation and forced marriage)
- forced marriage
Annex D which focuses on host families and homestay during exchange visits
Annex E is the statutory guidance for regulated activity (children), supervision of activity with children which is regulated activity when unsupervised
Annex F which changes each year as it sets out substantive changes made by the new guidance
KCSIE also explains the structures that schools and colleges must have in place. This includes having a specific safeguarding policy, which must be displayed on their website. Ofsted are likely to view this as part their pre-inspection work. The guidance also says that all educational establishments must have a DSL, who is at the right level of seniority. All staff should know who the DSL is and should know how to contact them when issues of a safeguarding nature arise.
Why is Keeping Children Safe in Education KCSIE so important?
Keeping Children Safe in Education KCSIE is essential for overall wellbeing and development of all children and young people. Safeguarding children is everyone’s responsibility to ensure that they are protected from harm and abuse, not only whilst they are in school but whilst they are online or within the school’s or college’s vicinity. Safeguarding includes protecting children and young people from physical, emotional, and sexual abuse, neglect, bullying and harassment. Having a safe and nurturing environment for children in schools and colleges is vital for their happiness, academic progress and mental health.
Keeping Children Safe in Education KCSIE also makes it clear that all staff should have safeguarding and child protection training (including online safety) at induction, with training being regularly updated. This means at least annually. The guidance also has information and tools that educational establishments can use to help keep children safe online. Furthermore, there are a bank of resources that schools and colleges can signpost to parents and carers to help them keep their children safe from different risks online.
The management of safeguarding and Designated Safeguarding Lead DSL
Whilst every school and college must have a Designated Safeguarding Lead DSL, it is governing boards (and proprietors of independent schools) who have strategic leadership responsibility for their school’s or college’s safeguarding arrangements.
The DSL should meet regularly with the designated governor or trustee for safeguarding to discuss key safeguarding priorities. However, it is important to make sure that all of the governing body or board of trustees:
- fulfil their duties under legislation
- check that a school’s or college’s safeguarding policies, procedures and training are effective
- follow legislation in line with KCSIE
Why is Keeping Children Safe in Education KCSIE revised each year?
The guidance is usually updated annually to reflect any changes in legislation, such as the Coronavirus Act 2020, any changes in government policy such as Brexit, any reviews or reports on particular safeguarding issues such as the 2021 Ofsted’s review of sexual abuse in schools and colleges, or any other issues relating to the safety of children and young people.
Changes to Keeping Children Safe in Education KCSIE for 2023
Keeping Children Safe in Education KCSIE 2023 has been published by the DfE for implementation in September 2023. It is important to note that at present this guidance is ‘for information only’. The 2022 version should still be referred to until 31 August 2023.
There are very few changes to the statutory guidance. The major change which educational settings need to be aware of relates to increased expectations and responsibilities regarding the school’s filtering and monitoring systems for IT. This is in response to the recently published standards for filtering and monitoring, which can be found here.
We will now look at what the standards mean for education settings in more detail.
- The DSL is expected to take lead responsibility for this, and this should be explicit in the role holder’s job description (Need DSL Training? Click here)
- All staff should receive appropriate safeguarding and child protection training which now includes an understanding of expectations, applicable roles, and responsibilities in relation to filtering and monitoring
- Reiteration that all educational settings should follow the recently published guidance on filtering and monitoring
- Governing bodies and proprietors should receive safeguarding training which includes an understanding of the expectations, applicable roles, and responsibilities in relation to filtering and monitoring. Paragraph 141 of the guidance now states the following: ‘Governing bodies and proprietors should consider the number of and age range of their children, those who are potentially at greater risk of harm and how often they access the IT system along with the proportionality of costs versus safeguarding risks.’
- Furthermore, there is a new section in paragraph 142 relating to the filtering and monitoring standards ‘which set out that schools and colleges should:
- identify and assign roles and responsibilities to manage filtering and monitoring systems
- review filtering and monitoring provision at least annually
- block harmful and inappropriate content without unreasonably impacting teaching and learning
- have effective monitoring strategies in place that meet their safeguarding needs
Governing bodies and proprietors should review the standards and discuss with IT staff and service providers what more needs to be done to support schools and colleges in meeting this standard.’
- Schools and colleges should consider meeting the Cyber security standards
- The safeguarding and child protection policy should reflect the individual educational setting’s approach to filtering and monitoring on school devices and networks
Other changes to the guidance include:
- Elective Home Education (EHE)
In paragraph 178, which outlines where parents or carers are considering removing their child from school to educate them at home, there is a new sentence which states that ‘where a child has an EHCP the local authority will need to review the plan whilst working closely with parents’.
- Children who are absent from education
Guidance about ‘Children missing from education’ has been replaced with ‘Children who are absent from education for prolonged periods and/or repeated occasions
The updated guidance on school attendance Working together to improve school attendance now includes information on how schools should work with local authorities children services where school absence indicates a safeguarding concern
Schools should inform shortlisted candidates that online searches may be done as part of due diligence checks
Copies of documents used to verify the successful candidate’s identity, right to work and required qualifications should be kept on their personnel file
- Use of school premises for non-school activities
Where schools are used for non-school activities, there is clarity around safeguarding arrangements that schools should expect providers (hirers) to have in place in accordance with the guidance on keeping children safe in out-of-school settings. Further information can be found in paragraph 167 of the updated guidance
As with any safeguarding allegation, schools should follow their own safeguarding policies and procedures, including informing the LADO should they receive an allegation relating to an incident that happened when an individual or organisation was using their school premises for the purposes of running activities for children. Examples of these include community groups, sports associations or service providers that run extra-curricular activities)
- Equality Act
Paragraph 89 has been updated and states that:
‘provisions within the Equality Act allow schools to take positive action, where it can be shown that it is proportionate, to deal with particular disadvantages affecting pupils or students with certain protected characteristics in order to meet their specific need. A school could, for example, consider taking positive action to support girls if there was evidence they were being disproportionately subjected to sexual violence or sexual harassment. There is also a duty to make reasonable adjustments for disabled children and young people.’
An individual will be required to provide their consent before any support delivered through the Channel programme is provided
- Forced marriage
In this section there is a new paragraph which states the following:
‘In addition, since February 2023 it has also been a crime to carry out any conduct whose purpose is to cause a child to marry before their eighteenth birthday, even if violence, threats or another form of coercion are not used. As with the existing forced marriage law, this applies to non-binding, unofficial ‘marriages’ as well as legal marriages.’
The forced marriage resource pack has also been updated, so it would be useful to obtain a copy of this.
Changes in terminology to Keeping Children Safe in Education KCSIE
As usual there are several changes in terminology in the statutory guidance which are as follows:
- children missing from education’ has been replaced with ‘children who are absent from education for prolonged periods and/or repeated occasions’
- updated throughout the guidance to include ‘pupils or students’
- reference to teachers can ‘discipline’ have been replaced with teachers can ‘sanction’
- children may be ‘vulnerable’ has been replaced with children may be ‘susceptible’
- Read the updated statutory guidance and begin to update your school’s or college’s safeguarding and child protection policy in preparation for 01st September 2023 – click here
- Ensure that there is a clear plan to implement the filtering and monitoring standards. It is important to point out the standards state that schools should already have implemented them
- Include filtering and monitoring in the staff CPD programme
- Ensure that the governing body/trustees understand their role in filtering and monitoring
- For DSLs, ensure that ‘lead responsibility’ for filtering and monitoring is added to their job description, and that what it involves is understood – Complete a Level 3 DSL course.
- Check that out-of-hours hire contracts for organisations working with children that the meet the expectations in the guidance on keeping children safe in out-of-schools settings. Make sure this is included in the safeguarding and child protection policy
- Ensure that information about incidents relating to out-of-hours hire contracts for organisations working with children are referenced in the school’s or college’s safeguarding and child protection policy
- Remember that when an allegation is received relating to out-of-hours contracts, that the school or college follows its own safeguarding policy, including informing the LADO
Links to the latest policies
Keeping Children Safe in Education 2023 01st September 2023 – click here
Keeping Children Safe in Education 2022 01st September 2022 – click here
Keeping children safe during community activities, after-school clubs and tuition: non-statutory guidance for providers running out-of-school settings – click here
Working together to improve school attendance – click here
Meeting digital and technology standards in schools and colleges – click here