Safeguarding in schools has never had a higher profile – and with the new school year comes a new set of guidance schools have to follow.
When the Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSiE) paper came out 24 months ago, it cemented safeguarding best practice and guidance in all schools.
The Department of Education’s (DfE) 2018 update includes interesting additions for governors, heads and academy proprietors. The amendments can be grouped under the banners of technology, training and governance.
One of the significant steps forward of the first KCSiE paper was to reinforce the need for every child at a school, regardless of age, to receive regular, age-appropriate online safety training. This means that just doing a couple of assemblies a year or holding a Safer Internet Day will not meet this standard.
It’s long been known that a major risk to online safety is not down to the device; it’s the user’s behaviour. To positively influence behaviour, it takes time. The DfE’s stance of regular, age-appropriate training for every child is a great step forward to helping every child develop online safety skills.
It also covers the need for every member of staff to receive regular training – and schools should think of the best way to record and evidence to show full compliance.
The swathe of over-blocking software that tore through lessons has actually done more harm than good. The DfE has sought to correct this by further emphasising that whilst every school needs to have filtering and blocking software, it must be appropriate. What does that mean? Well, they understand that different members of your school community need different levels of access and that there should be the freedom to change the amount of filtering based on the context and circumstances.
There is now pressure on school leadership to review policies and procedures to take into account that abuse can be pupil-on-pupil. This has demonstrated an openness in the planning stages of the KCSiE update to accept the wider issues facing children, with a concerted effort to protect them all.
The school’s safeguarding policy is now the umbrella with several sub-sections covering everything from acceptable use, to preventing staff communicating with parents or children using their own devices. Best practice is for all safeguarding policies to be reviewed and updated annually.
Your Safeguarding MOT
The KCSiE update does place a time pressure on schools to get things sorted before the start of the new academic year. To help you, we’ve created a Safeguarding MOT which will direct you to the areas you need to look at, along with some top tips to help ensure your school’s compliance. We’ve also created a poster and inset training presentation so you can pass the update across to your colleagues at the start of the new school year.