Keeping Children Safe in Education


  1. Explain the importance of keeping children safe in Education
  2. Outline the statutory guidance about keeping children safe in Education
  3. Identify safeguarding issues in Education
  4. Explain what you and your organisation need to do to keep children safe in Education

All Education staff must be vigilant. The 2020 statutory guidance states that “Staff working with children are advised to maintain in an attitude of “it could happen here’ where safeguarding is concerned.

 Who the Guidance applied to?

The statutory Guidance “Keeping the Children Safe in Education “KCSIE) from the Department for Education applies to :

  1. Governing bodies of all maintained school, including nursery schools that have early years foundation provision and colleges.
  2. Proprietors and Academy Trusts of independent schools, including academies, free schools and alternative provision academies, and non-maintained specials schools.
  3. Management committees of pupil referral Units (PRU’s).
  4. –all schools and colleges in England must regard and refer to this guidance when carrying out duties to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. This includes everyone under, or of, the age of 18.

What does the Guidance Cover?

KCSIE 2020 covers 5-important areas:

  1. Part 1: Safeguarding Information for all the staff.
  2. Part 2 : The management of Safeguarding.
  3. Part 3: Safe Recruitment.
  4. Part 4 : allegations of abuse made against teacher and other staff;
  5. Part 5 : Child on Child sexual violence and sexual harassment.

We will first dive into more detail of part one and cover the rest of this module.

Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is defined in the 2020 Guidance as:

  1. Protecting children from maltreatment
  2. Preventing impairment of children’s mental and physical health or development
  3. Enduring that children group up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care
  4. Taking action to enable all children to have the best outcomes.

Challenge:  Harvinder is 18 years old,  and only attend college part time for one day a week. He is employed part time in a local supermarket and is applying for an assistant manager position.  He still lives at home.   Does the 2020 KCSIE statutory guidance apply to Harvinder?

Answer: Yes. The guidance applies to all schools, including colleges and all students studying at school and college aged 18 and under.

Training and Awareness:

  • All staff should receive appropriate safeguarding training and child protection training which is regularly updated.
  • In addition, all staff should receive safeguarding and child protection updates as required and at least annually. This could be via email, e-bulletin’s and staff meetings.
  • This is to provide them with relevant skills and knowledge to safeguard children effectively

All staff should be aware of the process for making referrals to children’s social care and for statutory assessments under the children’s Act 1989, especially for children in need and if a child is suffering, or likely to suffer, significant harm.

Main Issue: Abuse:

All staff should be aware of indicators of abuse and neglect, so that they are able to identify children who may be in need of help or protection.

Abuse is a form of maltreatment of a child.  There are several forms, such as emotional, physical, sexual abused and neglect.

Safeguarding issues can manifest themselves via peer-on-peer abuse.  This is most likely to include, but may not be limited to:

  • Bullying, including cyberbullying.
  • Physical abuse such as hitting, kicking, shaking, biting, hair pulling.
  • Sexual violence and sexual harassment
  • Sexting, also known as youth produced sexual imagery.
  • Initiation or hazing type violence and rituals.

All staff should be clear about the schools or college policy and procedure with regards to peer-on-peer.

Special Cases

All school and college staff should be particularly alert to safeguarding issues for a child who:

  1. Is disabled and has specific additional needs
  2. Have special educational needs, whether or not they have a statutory Education, health and Care plan.
  3. Is young care
  4. Is showing signs of being drawn into anti-social or criminal behaviour including gang involvement and association with organised crime groups.
  5. Is frequent missing or goes missing from care home;
  6. Is at risk of modern slavery, trafficking or exploitation
  7. Is at risk of being radicalised or exploited
  8. Is in a family circumstance presenting challenges for the child, such as drug and alcohol misuse, adult mental health issues and domestic abuse
  9. Is misusing drugs or alcohol themselves
  10. Has a returned home to their family from care
  11. Is privately fostered child
  12. Has an allocated social worker, or has previously had a social care involvement.

Challenge: Suzie is 8 years old, and has Down syndrome. In what way should education staff be particularly alert to safeguarding issues for Suzzie?

  1. Provide opportunities for her to speak on a one to one basis;
  2. Build a positive and trusting relationship;
  3. Always listen carefully to Suzie;
  4. Teachers should make a special effort to get to know her parents.
  5. DSL should be in contact with any other professionals involved with the family and make staff aware of any concerns.

Contextual Safeguarding

Safeguarding incidents and /or behaviors can be associated with factors outside the school or college.  They can also occur between children outside the school or college.

All staff, but especially the DSL and their deputies, should be considering the context within which such incidents and/or behaviours occur.

This is known as contextual safeguarding, which simply means assessments of children should consider whether wide environmental factors are present in their life that are a threat to their safety and or/r welfare.

All children’s social care assessments should consider such factors.  It is important that schools and colleges provide as much information as possible as part of referral processes.  This will allow any assessment to consider all the available evidence and the full context of any abuse.

Case Study: Ariana is Age 12. Her dad had just been sentence to the three years in prison.

Although the family want to keep this information private, it is important that the school takes this into account and includes it in any referral they may make to children’s services.

This is because having a parent in prison can affect a child’s mental wellbeing, their economic circumstances and hot they are treated by others.

So, what can you do to help?

Early help, referrals and where to find out more information:

  • Early help means providing support as soon as a problem emerges at any point in a child’s life. Where a child would benefit from coordinated early help, an early help inter-agency assessment should be arranged.
  • Chapter 1: of Working Together to Safeguard Children provides detailed guidance on the early help process.
  • Referral should follow the process set out in the local threshold document and local protocol for assessment.

Under the Children Act 1989, Local authorities are required to provide services for children in need for the purposes of safeguarding and promoting their welfare.

Where a local authority has a reasonable cause to suspect a child is suffering or likely to suffer significant harm, they may assess them.  Local authorities have a duty to make enquiries to decide whether to take action to safeguard or promote the child’s welfare.

Where staff have concerns about a child, they need to take immediate action.   They then have three options:

  1. If a referral is not required, the school or college takes relevant action. This could possibly included pastoral support, early help and monitoring of the situation
  2. If the concerns and situation escalate, a referral is made.
  3. The DSL or other staffs make a referral to children’s social care and call the Police if appropriate. Here within one working day, a social worker makes decisions about the type of response that is required.

The DSL or deputy should always be available to discuss safeguarding concerns.  If they are not available, staff should consider speaking to a member of the senior leadership team or take advice from local children’s social care.  Any action taken should be shared with the DSL or deputy as soon as it is practically possible.  You can find out more about information sharing in the advice for practitioners.

How do you safeguard the Children?

Using the The five Rs’

All staff must be named to respond in children telling them about the possible abuse

When dealing with disclosures of safeguarding issue’s in your organisation, follow the five Rs’.

  1. Receive actively, use open body language, accept information, do not judge.  Recognize that the child trusts you.
  2. Reassure the child that you hear what they are saying . Do not promise what cannot be delivered.
  3. Respond: Tell them what you are going to do and do it. Ensure the child is OK and understands before leaving.
  4. Report: As soon as possible to the DSL always put reporting before confidentiality.
  5. Record: facts only, no opinions. When, Where, who, what and how?

All staff should know what to do if a child tells them that they are being abused or neglected.

Staff should know how to manage the requirements to maintain and appropriate level of confidentiality.

This means only involving those who need to be involved, such as the DSL, or a deputy, and children’s social care.

Staff should never promise a child that they will not tell anyone about a report of abuse, as this may ultimately not be in the best interest of the child.

Record Information

When recording information make sure you:

  1. Listen carefully to the child and do not judge. Do not ask leading or open questions and only prompt the child where necessary.
  2. Be clear about boundaries and how the report will be progressed.
  3. Consider the best way to make a record of the report. Best practice is to wait until the end of the report and immediately write up a thorough summary. This allows you to devote your full attention to the child. It may be appropriate to make notes though, especially if a second member of staff is present.  If making notes, be conscious of the need to remain engaged with the child and to not be distracted.
  4. Having two members of staff listening to the child is preferable, especially with one of them being the DSL or a deputy. If this is not possible, inform the DSL or deputy about the report as soon as practically possible.
  5. Only record the facts as the child presents them. The notes should not reflect your personal opinion Schools and colleges should be aware that notes of such reports could become part of a statutory assessment by children’s social care, or part of a criminal investigation.

Online Abuse

Things to take into account while online

  • Where the report includes an online element, you must be aware of the Searching, screening and confiscation advice for schools, and UKCCIS Sexting advice for Schools and colleges.
  • The key consideration is to not view or forward illegal images of a child. The highlighted advice above provides more details on what to do when viewing an image is unavoidable.

Use Common Sense

  • As always when concerned about the welfare of a child, act in the best interest of the child.
  • Schools and colleges should follow general safeguarding principles.
  • Immediate consideration should be given as to how the victim is best supported and protected from the alleged perpetrator. This may include other children who are involved or impacted.
  • The starting point regarding any report should always be that abuse, bullying, or harassment as ‘banter’, part of growing up’ or having’ a laugh’.

KCSIE 2020: Parts two to five

  • The management of safeguarding is the responsibility of governing bodies, proprietors and management committees.
  • They must have regard to the KCSIE 2019 guidance. ensuring that policies, procedures and training in their schools or colleges are effective and comply with the law at all times.
  • Governing bodies and proprietors should have a senior board level or equivalent lead to take leadership responsibility for their schoo1‘s or college‘s safeguarding arrangements.
  • Individual schools and colleges must have an effective child protection policy. It should describe procedures which are in accordance with government guidance and refer to locally agreed multi-agency safeguarding arrangements.
  • They must also have a staff behaviour policy or code of conduct. Including acceptable use of technologies. Staff-pupil relationships and communications including on social media.
  • Governing bodies and proprietors should put 1&1 place appropriate safeguarding responses to children who go missing from education particularly when repeatedly. This is to help identify the risk of abuse and neglect and prevent the risks of their going missing in future.

Part 3: Safer Recruitment

  • It is vital that schools and colleges create a culture of safe recruitment. As part of that they need to adopt recruitment procedures that help deter, reject or identify people who might abuse children.
  • The complete process involves recruitment, selection and pre-employment vetting.
  • The responsibilities of governors or proprietors include carrying out checks that are required for anyone working in any capacity at, or visiting, the school or college.
  • Governing bodies and proprietors must act reasonably in making decisions about the suitability of the prospective employee based on checks and evidence, including criminal record checks, Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks, barred list checks and prohibiting checks, together with references and interview information

The level of DBS certificate required and whether a check for any prohibition, direction, sanction, or restriction is required will depend on the role that is being offered and duties involved.

Whilst schools and colleges are not eh employer of supply teachers, they should ensure allegations against them are dealt with properly.

Part 4: Allegations of Abuse against teachers and other staff

This part of the guidance is about managing cases of allegations that might indicate a person would post a risk of harm if they continue to work in regular or close contact with children in their present position, or in any capacity.  This includes volunteers:

  • Behaved in a way that has harmed a child or may have harmed a child.
  • Possibly committed a criminal offence against or related to a child;
  • Behaved towards a child/children in a way that indicates they may pose a risk of harm to children

This part of the guidance relates to staff and volunteers who are currently working in any school or college, regardless of whether that school or college is where the alleged abuse took place.

Historical allegations and allegations against a teacher who is no longer teaching should be referred to the police.

There are certain criteria for making a decision about allegations.


Part 5 : Child on Child sexual violence and Sexual harassment

  • Report of sexual violence and sexual harassment are likely to be complex and required difficult professional decisions to be made, often quickly and underpressure.#
  • All schools and colleges must have effective training nd effective policies in place.
  • Report must be dealt with a calm, considered and appropriate way.
  • Decisions are for the school or college to make on case –by-case basis, with the DSL or a deputy taking a leading role and using their professional judgement. They should be supported by other agencies, such as children’s social care and the police as required.

Challenge: In your organisation, who is responsible for safeguarding children?


  • All staff should be aware of systems wtithin their school or college which supporting safeguarding.
  • Every schools or college has a person who is the Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL). You need to know who that is in your organisation, or who their deputies are; this is the person that staff should report any concerns to.
  • The DSL has an important role in making decisions, reporting issues to other agencies, sharing information, coordinating and attending meetings.

Challenge: Main Issues