Update: Keeping Children Safe in Education was updated in July 2015 to reflect the new prevent duty, to emphasise responsibilities concerning children missing from education, and to provide more content on female genital mutilation.
‘Keeping Children Safe in Education 2015’ is a revision of the previous document. The body of the document is largely unchanged, but there are new inclusions that draw in new guidance or legislation since the original was published, including disqualification by association (Childcare (Disqualification) Regulations 2009) and duties under the Counter Terrorism and Security Act 2015. The new version of ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education 2015’ also refers to two other updated documents ‘What to do if you’re worried a child is being abused 2015’ and ‘Information Sharing 2015’. It is noted that ‘Working together to Safeguard Children’ has also been updated.
‘Keeping children safe in education 2015’ is statutory guidance and all schools and colleges must have regard to it. whatever their status. Schools includes:
- maintained nursery schools
- maintained, non-maintained or independent schools
- academies and free schools
- alternative provision academies and
- pupil referral units.
Colleges includes further education colleges and sixth-form colleges (for students under the age of 18), but excludes 16-19 academies and free schools (which are required to comply with relevant safeguarding legislation by virtue of their funding agreement).
‘Keeping children safe in education 2015’ emphasises that safeguarding policies should include:
- staff relationships with pupils
- reference to the ‘Position of Trust’ offence (Sexual Offences Act 2003)
- communications on social media
- information sharing
Allegations of abuse made against teachers and other staff
In the previous edition, where staff had concerns about another adult in school, it could be reported to the headteacher or Designated Safeguarding Lead. In this edition, reports must be made only to the headteacher.
Each local authority must make arrangements for the management of allegations of abuse by staff. In the past the person responsible for those allegations has been called the Local authority Designated Officer (LADO). ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children 2015’ has slightly changed this role to allow LAs to develop teams, integrate the work in other child protection work and, apart from current post-holders, the staff carrying out this work must now be qualified social workers.
After any allegations of abuse have been made, there are a range of specified outcomes:
- false and
‘Keeping Children Safe in education 2015’ has introduced a further outcome ‘unfounded’:
Schools may wish to use the additional definition of ‘unfounded’ to reflect cases where there is no evidence or proper basis which supports the allegation being made. It might also indicate that the person making the allegation misinterpreted the incident or was mistaken about what they saw. Alternatively they may not have been aware of all the circumstances.
Vetting and Barring Checks
‘Keeping Children Safe in Education 2015’, paragraph 52 sets out the required checks:
For most appointments, an enhanced DBS certificate, which includes barred list information, will be required as the majority of staff will be engaging in regulated activity. In summary, a person will be considered to be engaging in regulated activity if as a result of their work they:
- will be responsible, on a regular basis in a school or college, for teaching, training instructing, caring for or supervising children;
- or will carry out paid, or unsupervised unpaid, work regularly in a school or college where that work provides an opportunity for contact with children;
- engage in intimate or personal care or overnight activity, even if this happens only once.
Checks on Volunteers
Although many schools and authorities have been doing this for sometime, the expectation of vetting checks for volunteers has been clarified: volunteers may have Enhanced checks, but not barred list checks.
Paragraph 53 says that for staff who have an “opportunity for regular contact with children who are not engaging in regulated activity, an enhanced DBS certificate, which does not include a barred list check, will be appropriate.”
Paragraph 54 says ‘In a school or college, a supervised volunteer who regularly teaches or looks after children is not in regulated activity.’
DBS Update Service
Joining the DBS Update service allows for vetting checks to have ‘portability’, that is say be taken from one employer to another, as long as the person has registered with the update service at the point the check was received or within 19 days of receiving it.
The revised ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education 2015’ says:
Before using the Update Service schools or colleges must
a. obtain consent from the applicant to do so;
b. confirm the certificate matches the individual’s identity; and
c. examine the original certificate to ensure that it is for the appropriate workforce and level of check, e.g. enhanced certificate/enhanced including barred list information.
Transfer of child protection files
CP files must by transferred ‘as soon as possible’, but now the following guidance is included: ‘ensuring secure transit and confirmation of receipt should be obtained.’
Individual staff may make a direct referral to social services
Whilst the previous version of Keeping Children safe in Education said that ‘anybody can make a referral’, the new guidance says, “In exceptional circumstances, such as in emergency or a genuine concern that appropriate action has not been taken, staff members can speak directly to children’s social care.“