Following consultations earlier this year, the Department of Education (DfE) has published an updated version of Keeping children safe in education (KCSIE) which contains several important additions.

KCSIE 2022 does not come into force until 1 September 2022 and so, until then, it is for information only. In the meantime, schools and colleges should continue to use KCSIE 2021.

Some of the key changes are as follows.

  1. It is emphasised that governing bodies must have policies and processes to deal with 'low-level concerns' (i.e. concerns that do not meet the harm threshold). Examples of these types of concerns include having favourites and humiliating pupils.
  1.  All governors and trustees should be provided with safeguarding and child protection training at their induction. The training should be updated regularly and be sufficient to ensure that governors and trustees are able to assure themselves that their school’s safeguarding and child protection policies are effective.

  2. In relation to potential new staff, it is recommended that schools consider carrying out an online search as part of their due diligence on shortlisted candidates. The purpose of this recommendation is to help identify any incidents or issues that the school or college may wish to explore at interview - schools should take care that such searches only relate to the candidate’s suitability for working with children.

  3. The terminology used in KCSIE 2022 has been changed from 'peer-on-peer' to 'child-on-child' to clarify the extent of the issues that schools must tackle.

  4. There is a specific reminder to governing bodies and proprietors that they must be aware of their obligations under the Human Rights Act 1998, the Equality Act 2010 and their local multi-agency safeguarding arrangements. These obligations are outlined in sections 83 – 93 of KCSIE 2022.

It is important that schools and colleges are aware of the updates to KCSIE, in addition to their general safeguarding obligations. 

Schools and colleges may wish to consider whether any amendments are required to policies and procedures, especially in relation to low-level concerns, at regular reviews. Training needs may also need to be reassessed and additional training implemented both for staff and governing boards where needed.  

Please contact me, or another member of the regulatory team at Anthony Collins Solicitors, for more information or advice.