The Department for Education (DfE) has published the draft Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSIE) 2020 statutory guidance for use from 1 September 2020.

Prior to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, the DfE launched a consultation to seek views on more substantial amendments to the statutory guidance. This consultation was suspended in March 2020 and withdrawn when the draft KCSIE 2020 was published on 17 June 2020, as the DfE announced that it wanted schools to be able to focus their efforts on responding to the pandemic.

Some of the proposed wording in the consultation document has made it into the draft KCSIE 2020 in so far as it relates to the following:

  • to reflect legislative changes, eg the introduction of mandatory Relationship Education and Relationship and Sex Education from September 2020 (Health Education will also be a mandatory subject in state funded schools)
  • to include additional information to support schools protect children, eg mental health, domestic abuse, child criminal and sexual exploitation and county lines, and those children who are potentially at greater risk of harm
  • to provide clarifications to help the sector better understand and follow the guidance, eg how the procedures in Part Four should be used when dealing with allegations against supply staff

The draft also cross-refers to the DfE's non-statutory interim guidance Coronavirus (COVID-19): safeguarding in schools, colleges and other providers, which supports schools  keep children safe during the pandemic, and suggests where schools might consider safeguarding policy and process differently when compared to business as usual.

We are aware that it is the DfE's intention to launch a consultation at a future date (the timing of which will be confirmed later this year) to seek views on the revisions not included in the draft. These are likely to include:

  • extending the role of the designated safeguarding lead (DSL) to provide a greater focus on improving the academic achievement of children who have experienced adversity and trauma, as part of their existing safeguarding duties
  • restructuring Part Three (suitability checks) and Part Four (allegations)
  • including a shortened version of Part One for schools to provide to staff who do not work directly with children on a regular basis as a separate annex A.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.