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Keeping Children Safe in Education 2023 updates/changes blog

August 14, 2023
3 minute read

As we approach the start of a new academic year, you’re likely aware that the Department for Education has recently released the draft of its new statutory guidance for Keeping Children Safe in Education 2023.

Whilst the 2022 guidance is currently in force, the new guidance will be statutory on the 1st September 2023.

Although there are no major additions as the DfE has said they want settings to embed current guidance fully, there are a few changes for DSLs and school/nursery staff to be aware of – we’ve compiled a few of the changes to be aware of below, to ensure the safety of all children.

The main proposed KCSIE changes

New Filtering and Monitoring Standards

This is the main updated section in the guidance; schools, colleges and settings must ensure that robust filtering and monitoring systems are in place and are reviewed annually to manage risks regarding the settings IT system.

This involves blocking harmful content, deploying effective monitoring strategies and assigning responsibilities to those within your setting.

This isn’t completely new, but the emphasis has changed, and the guidance has been strengthened, particularly around the management and monitoring of your systems. DSLs are to have lead responsibility and all staff need training in this area.

Your Child Protection policy needs to address this, and governors/directors should hold strategic oversight. The guidance for this was updated in March 2023 which you should follow.

More Guidance about Online Recruitment Checks

Schools, settings and colleges should inform shortlisted candidates that they will conduct online searches, to identify the possibility of any public incidents that may need to be discussed with the candidate.

Organisations and Individuals Using School/Setting Premises

Guidance has been updated regarding safeguarding allegations made when an outside individual or organisation is in use of the school premises. Schools and settings own safeguarding policies and procedures should be followed as well as ensuring the LADO is informed.

Student Absence

Terminology around children missing education has been clarified to talk about “persistently absent” children, missing education on repeat occasions.

Forced Marriage

Due to the law change in February 2023 which made any marriage under the age of 18 illegal, the language around Forced Marriage has been updated.

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.

So, what are your next steps?

  1. Read the updated statutory guidance and begin to update your school’s or college’s Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy in preparation for 1ST September 2023.
  2. 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.
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