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Updates to Keeping Children Safe in Education for 2024

The Department of Education has now updated its statutory guidance for schools and colleges - Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSIE) for 2024, replacing KCSIE 2023. The guidance takes effect from 1 September 2024 and sets out the legal duties that all schools and colleges must follow when performing their duties to safeguard and promote the welfare of children under the age of eighteen. 

 What's new for 2024?

 The changes appear to be mainly technical – with some new definitions to bring KCSIE in line with the working together to safeguard children 2023 guidance. 

 Key high-level variations to know from a governance and HR perspective include changes to the following parts:

 Part one: safeguarding information for all staff

  • Ensure that your policies reflect the technical changes, including an updated definition of safeguarding to match that in working together to safeguard children 2023 guidance. Safeguarding includes, amongst other duties, 'protecting children from maltreatment' and this has been expanded to specify whether that is within or outside the home, including online.
  • Have you or are you placing a pupil with an alternative provision provider?  If so, your school will continue to be responsible for the safeguarding needs of that pupil. Have you ensured that the placement meets the pupil's needs?

Part two: management of safeguarding

  • Be aware that sections in KCSIE on 'children who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or gender questioning' and 'preventing radicalisation' are still under review pending the response to the gender questioning children consultation and the subsequent publication of final guidance. These sections may yet change pending this guidance but there is no indication of when that will be. We will keep this under review.
  • The word 'gender questioning' has replaced the word ‘trans’ throughout and marks a subtle change in approach.
  • Schools should take a cautious approach to supporting a gender-questioning child (considering the broad range of the pupil's needs, ideally, in partnership with parents, including available clinical advice and consideration of how to address wider vulnerabilities, such as the risk of bullying). 
  • It is important for staff to 'create a culture' where pupils can speak out or share any concerns with staff. This has replaced 'provide a safe space' for pupils to do this.
  • There is a new paragraph on using the DFE's data protection guidance to help governors, trustees and staff comply with data protection law.

Part five: child-on-child sexual violence and sexual harassment  

  • Early help is now defined as 'support for children of all ages that improves a family’s resilience and outcomes or reduces the chance of a problem getting worse' reflecting the working together to safeguard children guidance referred to above.
  • There has also been a statistical clarification – in that KCSIE says that children with disabilities are three times more likely to be abused than their peers. This previous wording was 'children with special educational needs and disabilities'.

 How we can help

Contact Katherine Sinclair for assistance with updating your child protection and safeguarding policies or for advice in understanding the changes in more detail. 

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employment, education, governance, regulatory