Government strengthens guidance on pupil safeguarding

The government’s statutory safeguarding guidance, Keeping Children Safe in Education, now provides additional advice to help school and college staff deal with allegations of child-on-child sexual violence and sexual harassment.

This is following a 10-week public consultation which was launched in December.

The majority of the responses to the consultation on the guidance welcomed the additional advice on how to support victims of this type of ‘peer abuse’ and the new guidance will be applicable to all schools, including primary schools, on how to best support children of all ages.

The Department for Education has also committed to setting up a working group to consider how online safety advice can be further integrated throughout the statutory guidance.

A large majority (79 per cent) of respondents to the consultation welcomed the changes on how to report or act on safeguarding concerns. The published guidance goes further to outline that staff should take immediate action and speak to the designated safeguard lead if they have a concern about a child’s wellbeing.

The proposal for schools and colleges to hold more than one emergency contact number for pupils, where reasonably possible, received significant support, with 87 per cent of respondents welcoming the move.

The revised statutory guidance, Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSIE), has been published today, 17 May, for information only and will come into effect for schools and colleges on 3 September 2018. Until that point schools and colleges should continue to have regard to KCSIE 2016 Guidance.

Revised departmental advice on Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment between Children in Schools and Colleges is has also been published, and is available immediately to support schools and colleges.

A number of other minor technical changes have also been made in the statutory guidance which aim to strengthen the guidance and make it clearer for school and college staff to use.

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