New term...new safeguarding obligations
Actions required for ALL schools following key changes to statutory safeguarding guidance from September 2016.
A new version of the statutory guidance on safeguarding, Keeping Children Safe in Education, comes into force at the beginning of September. It applies to all maintained schools and colleges, independent schools, academies, free schools and non-maintained special schools.
Schools must ensure that all staff have read at least Part 1 of the guidance and must ensure that mechanisms are in place to help staff to understand the guidance and to put it into practice.
The key changes in the updated guidance include:
Training and staff development
- As well as having "regular" training on safeguarding, staff should receive regular (and at least annual) safeguarding updates which can include emails, e-bulletins and staff meetings;
- Schools are encouraged to use the expertise of staff when developing safeguarding policies;
- There is more clarity on the difference between "concerns" about a child and an immediate risk of harm to a child and what action to take for each;
- The guidance includes an updated definition of "abuse" and is clear that different forms of abuse may not stand alone and may include "peer on peer" abuse, cyber bullying and sexting;
Dealing with concerns
- The senior leadership team should take seriously any concerns of staff or volunteers about poor safeguarding practices;
- The guidance now sets out a teacher's duty to report Female Genital Mutilation;
- There is more clarity on Schools' obligations with regards to looked after children and the role of the Virtual School Head for each local authority;
- It is made clear that concerns about data protection should not be a barrier to sharing information which might help to safeguard a child;
- Updates are also provided (or expected shortly) with regard to children missing from education, child sexual exploitation, honour-based violence and the Prevent duty;
- The importance of safeguarding children from potentially harmful and inappropriate online material is emphasised;
- Schools must now ensure that children are taught about safeguarding, including online safety while being aware that IT filters should not lead to unreasonable restrictions;
- Independent schools, academies and free schools are required to carry out additional checks on employees appointed to management roles, on trustees and on governors where management responsibilities have been delegated to them;
- Schools are referred to the new Teacher Services system which can be used to check whether someone has been prohibited from teaching;
- Governors of maintained schools must now also have enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service checks.
'Keeping children safe in education' - Statutory guidance for schools and colleges on safeguarding children and safer recruitment.
If you would like to discuss any aspect of this article further or if you have any questions relating to relating to safeguarding in schools, please contact Alacoque Marvin on 0113 244 6100.
The information in this article is necessarily of a general nature. Specific advice should be sought for specific situations. If you have any queries or need any legal advice please feel free to contact Wrigleys Solicitors