The Department for Education recently announced its annual updates to the Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSIE) guidelines for 2023. This blog aims to get you up to speed with the new guidance by sharing some of the fundamental changes to the guidelines and what you can do to stay on top of safeguarding in your schools.

What Is Kcsie 2023, and Why Is It Being Updated?

Keeping Children Safe in Education guides trust leaders, headteachers, teachers, staff, governing bodies, proprietors and management committees by providing them with the legal duties schools and educational professionals must follow to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people under the age of 18 in an educational setting. The new KCSIE guidance comes into action on 1st September 2023. This replaces the 2022 equivalent, highlighting some necessary changes for the education sector. 

KCSIE is updated regularly to reflect changes in the sector and to ensure that all threats, challenges and changes in society are reflected in the guidance for school staff. While the changes this year are less substantial than last year. It’s important to be aware of them when planning for the 2023/2024 academic year.

👉 Gain a deeper understanding of your pupils' safeguarding experience 👈

Summary of Some Key KCSIE 2023 Changes

Clarification around the roles and responsibilities of education staff concerning filtering and monitoring.

  • In the 2023 changes, there are notable updates in the form of new instructions and recommendations relating to online filtering and monitoring software schools use. The guidance now encourages school safeguarding leads to better understand the filtering and monitoring systems. It also recommends updating staff training to include expectations and responsibilities concerning filtering and monitoring. 
  • The 2023 changes also include recommendations to update the school's child protection policy to include how the filtering and monitoring technology on school devices and school networks are in place.

Clarification that being absent, as well as missing, from education can be a warning sign of a range of safeguarding concerns. Including sexual abuse, sexual exploitation or child criminal exploitation.

  • New updates to KCSIE 2023 include some differentiation between children absent from education and children missing education. Guidance has been reworded to reflect that. 
  • Guidance now highlights that it is essential the school or college’s response to persistently absent pupils and children missing education supports identifying such abuse, and in the case of absent pupils, helps prevent the risk of them becoming a child missing education in the future.

Additional information on online pre-recruitment checks for shortlisted candidates.

  • In the 2022 changes, recommendations included that schools should conduct online searches for job candidates. This was to explore possible incidents or issues publicly available online. In this year's update, schools must inform shortlisted candidates that online searches may be done as part of due diligence checks.

Information on responding to allegations related to organisations or individuals using school premises.

  • Another KCSIE 2023 update clarifies that schools should now apply their safeguarding policies and procedures (including informing the LADO) for groups using the school premises. Including community groups, sports associations or any service providers that run extracurricular activities.

👉 Gain a deeper understanding of your pupils' safeguarding experience 👈

In October 2022, we launched our Pupil Safeguarding Review in partnership with The Key. Our Pupil Safeguarding Review summarises the experience of 70,000+ students from 373 Schools and 41 Trusts. Two overarching goals of the review for schools and trusts took part:

  • QUALITY ASSURANCE: To assess whether policies, practices and curriculum are having the required impact on pupil safety.
  • EVIDENCE FOR ACTION: To proactively identify issues (prior to Ofsted and risk to pupils) and target dedicated resources in the most impactful areas.

By surveying pupils in your school or trust, you can deepen your understanding of possible safeguarding risks or challenges they face.

What Did We Find?

In our recent report, we found that whilst the majority of pupils feel safe in school, around a quarter felt only fairly safe, not very safe, or not safe at all. More pupils felt safer out of school, and even more, felt safe online.

75% of pupils feel safe “in school”. 

78% of pupils feel safe “out of school”.

88% of pupils feel safe “online”.

Worryingly our report also found that,

One in ten pupils (10%) Reported that they had missed school recently because they felt unsafe at school.

Our data highlights that one in ten pupils reported that they had missed school recently because they felt unsafe at school. It is no surprise that the guidance on absences in KCSIE 2023 were updated to reflect this. Guidance in KCSIE now clarifies that; being absent, as well as missing, from education can be a warning sign of a range of safeguarding concerns. Including sexual abuse, sexual exploitation or child criminal exploitation.

Using our Pupil safeguarding survey is a coherent way to understand pupils' experiences within schools. They also support leaders to reflect on changes to their school policies and practices relating to safeguarding. Running a survey in your school or trust can support the development of more efficient and effective policies. These changes can benefit the pupils within your organisation and adhere to the guidance outlined in KCSIE 2023.

A Deep Dive into the State of Safeguarding in Schools

Main areas of the Edurio Safeguarding Review survey

Edurio's Safeguarding survey explores the safeguarding topics touched on by the Pupil learning experience and wellbeing survey in more detail. It covers the following topics: 

  • Curriculum,
  • Treatment of others, 
  • Feelings of safety, 
  • Access to help.

The survey also asks for pupils’ gender identity, year group, ethnicity and religious status. This helps school leadership teams analyse data and look for trends within specific groups. Book a consultation with Katie now to find out more!