On 14 December 2017, the Department for Education (DfE) launched a consultation on the proposed changes to “Keeping children safe in education (KCSIE)”. Many of the proposed changes are in response to requests from schools, seeking further clarification, and some are technical. The DfE also asked for views on a new advice document covering sexual violence and sexual harassment between children in schools and colleges. The consultation closed on 22 February 2018.The key proposals are as follows:
- More information to be provided on early help and what staff can do if they have a concern about a child.
- In response to a highly publicised recent case in which a young child of school age was left alone for 24 hours with a dead parent, it is recommended that schools go beyond the legal minimum requirement and have more than one emergency contact number relating to a child at the school.
- The DfE is asking for views as to how it may improve the section dealing with online safety.
- The DfE has highlighted the importance of making a link between restraint, safeguarding and welfare, especially for children with special education needs and disabilities.
- Extra information on how to minimise the risk of harm to children on school exchange visits and when to carry out DBS checks on UK hosts.
- Minor changes to the “Safer recruitment” section of KCSIE which sets out the minimum statutory requirements for pre-appointment checks – the proposed changes clarify when an enhanced DBS certificate is not required.
- Changes highlighting the importance of obtaining accurate references and ensuring that schools explore the reasons for any gaps or inconsistencies and why staff left their previous roles.
- Individuals who have lived or worked outside the UK are subject to the same checks as all other staff in schools. It is the school’s responsibility to carry out any additional checks for any events that occurred outside the UK. The DfE would like to hear what further checks would be appropriate, how easy it is to identify possible relevant events abroad and if the extra checks create any barriers to employment.
- The DfE are reviewing KCSIE’s size and scope and would like to ensure it remains effective; views are being sought as to whether more detail would be helpful or whether this would reduce the likelihood of the guidance being fully absorbed.
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