This guidance applies to all schools and is for:
headteachers, teachers and staff
governing bodies, proprietors and management committees
It sets out the legal duties you must follow to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people under the age of 18 in schools and colleges.
In Keeping Children Safe in Education 2020 the DfE comment:
We have made changes in three circumstances. Firstly, where legislation has required it e.g. reflecting mandatory Relationship Education, Relationship and Sex Education and Health Education from September 2020. Secondly, where we have helpful additional information that will support schools and colleges protect their children e.g. mental health, domestic abuse, child criminal and sexual exploitation and county lines. Finally, important clarifications which will help the sector better understand and/or follow our guidance.
The changes are listed in Annex H of the main document - you can download a copy of Annex H here
Summary of key changes
Key changes in part 1:
All staff should read at least Part 1 of this guidance
There is rewording of the guidance (para 21) around extra-familial harm, removing the links to contextual safeguarding but emphasising that “children may be vulnerable to multiple harms including (but not limited to) sexual exploitation, criminal exploitation, and serious youth violence.” Para 28 goes on to add emphasis on Child Sexual Exploitation and Child Criminal Exploitation.
Children’s mental health is added to the guidance, ensuring that staff should consider when this might become a safeguarding concern.
Concerns about staff are widened to include supply staff, reflecting changes in Part 4 that schools hold a responsibility to fully explore concerns about supply staff.
Where a head teacher is also the sole proprietor of an independent school it is now mandatory to report to the LADO.
Key changes in part 2:
There is a link to the National Police Chief’s Council guidance on when to call the police to ensure calls are appropriate and timely.
The guidance refers to the Relationships Education, Relationships & Sex Education and Health education guidance and the safeguarding implications of this. Please see our previous Blog post on this
The emphasis has shifted from simply “allegations” to “safeguarding concerns and allegations”. Settings should recognise that concerns may be apparent before someone makes an allegation.
The particular vulnerability of children who have a social worker is recognised. This relates to the research on “What Works in Education for Children who have social workers“.
Findings from the Children in Need review, ‘Improving the educational outcomes of Children in Need of help and protection’ contains further information; the conclusion of the review, ‘Help, protection, education’ sets out action Government is taking to support this.
The guidance notes (para 113) “Schools and colleges have an important role to play in supporting the mental health and well being of their pupils” and asks that settings have in place clear systems and processes to identify these needs, and to consider when they become a safeguarding concern. DSLs may wish to familiarise themselves with the guidance on Mental health & behaviour in schools, particularly Chapter 4 which talks about developing local partnerships and ensure they know how to access training for themselves and staff in their local area.
Key changes in part 3:
The only change in this section is the reference to statutory guidance on private fostering.
Key changes in part 4:
Added a fourth bullet point under the behaviours which covers where an individual has behaved or may have behaved in a way that indicates they may not be suitable to work with children. The reason is because of transferrable risk. Where a member of staff or volunteer is involved in an incident outside of school/college which did not involve children but could have an impact on their suitability to work with children. For example, a member of staff is involved in domestic violence at home. No children were involved, but schools/colleges need to consider what triggered these actions and could a child in the school trigger the same reaction, therefore being put at risk
Added further guidance as to how schools and colleges should ensure allegations against supply teachers are handled
Key changes to Annex A:
The potential for children to be exploited when missing education is emphasised. Staff need to be aware of your unauthorised absence and children missing from education procedures.
Child criminal exploitation is defined and included, together with some of the indicators. Child sexual exploitation is very much seen through the lens of child criminal exploitation. A link is added to Child sexual exploitation: guide for practitioners.
The wording around County Lines has been revised and improved.
Wording around domestic abuse has been revised and improved and "made clear domestic abuse can impact on children when they witness it at home and/or suffer it in an intimate personal relationship and signposted additional information and support". There is reference to Operation Encompass and the National Domestic Abuse Helpline with other references to the NSPCC, Refuge and SafeLives also added.
In regard to Honour-based abuse - Wording changed from ‘violence’ to ‘abuse’ to recognise non-violent forms of abuse
A definition of terrorism has been added, a sentence amended to clarify radicalisation and a link made to the Channel guidance. There is a link to the Prevent elearning and additional guidance.
The Voyeurism (Offences) Act came into force on 12 April 2019 and so has now been referenced in the definition of ‘upskirting’.
Key changes to Annex B:
DSLs should work closely with senior mental health leads.
The designated safeguarding lead (and any deputies) should undergo training to provide them with the knowledge and skills required to carry out the role. This training should be updated at least every two years. The designated safeguarding lead should undertake Prevent awareness training. Training should provide designated safeguarding leads with a good understanding of their own role, and the processes, procedures and responsibilities of other agencies, particularly children’s social care.
DSLs should help promote educational outcomes by sharing the information about the welfare, safeguarding and child protection issues that children, including children with a social worker, are experiencing, or have experienced, with teachers and school and college leadership staff.
Key changes to Annex C:
The section on online safety has been reformatted to improve accessibility and additional links have been added
Annex D, E, F, G
There were not changes to these sections.
All school and college staff should read part 1 of this guidance. Part 1 of the guidance is also available as a standalone document.
All related documents can be found on the main DFE website here
‘Regulated activity in relation to children: scope’ describes work that a barred person must not do.
The DfE have also published guidance on ‘Disqualification under the Childcare Act 2006’.
Statutory guidance sets out what schools must do to comply with the law. You should follow the guidance unless you have a good reason not to.
You should also read Coronavirus (COVID-19): safeguarding in schools, colleges and other providers alongside this guidance.