The Department for Education’s latest ‘Keeping children safe in education’ (KCSIE) statutory guidance has come into effect this academic year.
While safeguarding issues are sadly not new, the new guidance reflects the fact that children and young people are facing more complex problems today than they ever have before. And, with some risks exacerbated by the Coronavirus pandemic – and the continuing uncertainty makes this a difficult time for pupils and teachers alike – it’s critical that schools get their safeguarding strategies right over the next few months.
Here, I’ll look at some of the most noteworthy changes in the new KSCIE guidance that headteachers and designated safeguarding leads will need to be aware of – and highlight how Entrust’s safeguarding offering helps schools to keep children safe.
Changes in the KCSIE 2020 guidance
The latest KCSIE guidance reflects the evolving problems faced by young people today – including online safety, which has been particularly relevant during lockdowns and quarantines, mental health and county lines.
Some of the changes in it include:
- A greater emphasis on contextual safeguarding in areas such as abuse, neglect, child criminal and sexual exploitation, and county lines. Schools not only need to be aware of what signs to look out for, but they also need to consider the safety of young people in a wider context than school or family; with extra-familial harms being highlighted as a particular issue to bear in mind.
- A greater focus on schools’ responsibility to promote mental health, understand the contextual relevance of pupils’ mental health problems and take appropriate action if they become a safeguarding issue.
- More resources and guidance on how to keep children safe online and when using ICT, with new information on keeping children safe when online at home.
- Updates to reflect the new mandatory Relationship and Sex Education and Health Education (RSHE) guidance (applicable from September 2020), which includes sections on online safety and mental wellbeing.
- New guidance on managing allegations against supply teachers to protect both pupils and schools.
What does this mean for schools and safeguarding leads? From ensuring staff are trained in and comfortable with the latest guidance to having robust safeguarding processes that account for local lockdowns or quarantines, schools may have to consider making significant, structural changes to how they approach safeguarding - as well as refreshing parts of the curriculum to meet the statutory requirements of the RSHE guidance.
The expectations on schools to adequately meet safeguarding standards are high, and rightly so. But it’s a big responsibility, especially when resources are spread so thinly. As a result, technology will be key in helping them to meet their obligations without creating a huge administrative burden.
Introduction to Entrust’s safeguarding services
At Entrust, we offer training, support and policy-based solutions to provide schools and academies with specialist expertise, ensuring every child and young person receives a good education, in a safe and healthy environment, and is given expert guidance to realise their full potential.
Our safeguarding services are an important part of this. We have a full suite of products to cover all aspects of safeguarding and we provide a single point of contact, liaising closely with schools to help them to meet DfE and Ofsted requirements.
And we don’t just talk the talk. Entrust has many ex-teachers on its staff, who know first-hand what educators need to enable them to focus on pupils, their education and their wellbeing – not on onerous admin.
Keeping children safe in education in 2020 / 21
This year continues to be an incredibly challenging one for schools. When it comes to safeguarding, taking a thorough, holistic approach isn’t optional – indeed, the pressure is on schools to get this right from the start. With young people facing ever-more dangerous and complex risks, headteachers and safeguarding leads need to ensure they have robust and seamless safeguarding structures in place that take into account potential disruption caused by local lockdowns or quarantine measures.
Entrust is the trusted partner with the expertise and tools to make sure schools are doing all they can for their pupils. To find out more about how we can help your school to manage safeguarding processes, visit our website or get in touch with our team of experts.