The revised Keeping Children Safe in Education statutory guidance now provides additional advice to help school and college staff deal with allegations of child-on-child sexual violence and sexual harassment, following a 10-week public consultation launched in December.
The majority of the responses to the consultation on the guidance, published today (17 May) 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.
Minister for Children and Families, Nadhim Zahawi, said:
Pupils and parents rightly expect schools to be safe places, where children are free to enjoy their time in education without fear of violence or harassment.
Schools and colleges play an important part in keeping children safe, so it’s right that we take the necessary steps to ensure staff have the guidance and support they need to deal with concerns about a child’s wellbeing.
A large majority (79 percent) of respondents to the consultation welcomed the changes on how to report or act on safeguarding concerns and 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 percent of respondents welcoming the move. This gives schools and colleges more options to reach someone when a child is missing from school, as the unknown absence could also be a safeguarding concern.
To further support schools and colleges put effective safeguarding measures in place, 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.
The revised statutory guidance, Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSIE), published 17th 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 also 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.