Updated Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSIE) guidance

6 July 2021

The DFE updated the Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSIE) guidance on 6 July. The changes will come into force from September 2021.

The key changes have been developed in response to the recent consultation on KCSIE and the Ofsted review into sexual harassment and abuse. Links to the relevant documents are as follows: 
  1. KCSIE 2021 
  2. Sexual violence and sexual harassment between children in schools and colleges - advice for schools and colleges on how to prevent and respond to reports of sexual violence and harassment between children.
  3. Government response to KSCIE 2021 consultation
Summary of key changes
 
  • KCSIE now applies to providers of post-16 education as set out Education and Training (Welfare of Children) Act 2021. 
  • It now makes clear it is essential that when they make a report of abuse, all victims are reassured that they are being taken seriously and that they will be supported and kept safe.
  • It explains in more detail the risks associated with peer-on-peer online abuse and what this can look like.
  • It makes clear that peer-on-peer abuse can happen outside the school or college and that it can be hidden – just because there aren’t reports of it doesn’t mean it’s not happening.
  • It provides more information for governors on reporting mechanisms and sets out that systems should be in place and easily understood for children to confidently report abuse, knowing their concerns will be treated seriously, they can express their views and give feedback.
  • It emphasises the need to consider tailored approaches to teach children about staying safe, especially with regard to victims of abuse, vulnerable children and SEND children. 
  • A section has been added which deals with unsubstantiated, unfounded, false or malicious reports.
  • DfE has added information on Child Criminal Exploitation (CCE) setting out how children can be exploited, and making clear that the experiences of girls being criminally exploited can be very different to boys, as well as the indicators to look for in victims of CCE.
  • DfE has added a new section in Part four (relating to allegations made against staff) to differentiate between allegations that meet the reporting threshold and those under the threshold considered ‘low level concerns’.
The most notable changes are on victim support, peer-on-peer abuse (including online) and the availability of reporting channels. The update makes clear that abuse, sexual violence, and sexual harassment may be happening outside of school or college premises and online. In addition, it is clear there should be a zero-tolerance approach to sexual violence and sexual harassment and that schools should take a “it can happen here" attitude, being clear abuse could be happening even where it is not being reported. 
 

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