The DfE and Ofsted have published several pieces of guidance that schools should consider and incorporate into their safeguarding policies (as well as other relevant policies) as soon as practicable. Further details can be found below.
New Keeping Children Safe Guidance, effective July 2015
The DfE has published updated Keeping Children Safe guidance. Changes include a new section on children missing from education (with a later section on safeguarding responses to missing children), more information regarding female genital mutilation and the statutory duty to report cases involving children from October 2015, and further information on Preventing Radicalisation (to include the Prevent duty). Schools will need to revise their safeguarding policies to bring them in line with the new guidance.
New Prevent Duty Guidance: School Specific Advice, effective July 2015
The DfE have published guidance for schools on the Prevent duty, namely the duty to have "due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism", under s26 Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015.
The guidance is not prescriptive as to what precisely schools need to do, but it does make clear that action is necessary, specifically in relation to:
- Risk assessment - identifying those at risk, as well as risks online.
- Working in partnership e.g. with local partnership arrangements, Local Safeguarding Children Boards and local authorities.
- Staff training - as a minimum, the Designated Safeguarding Lead should undertake Prevent awareness training.
- IT policies (protecting children when accessing the internet in schools, including having filters in place).
New Ofsted Guidance to Inspectors relating to safeguarding, effective September 2015
Ofsted has published revised guidance for inspectors to use when inspecting safeguarding under the common inspection framework. Inspectors are advised to ensure that schools have measures in place to prevent children being radicalised or drawn into terrorism/extremism.
The guidance also places increased emphasis on the following areas of safeguarding risk management by schools:
- Suitable measures for children who go missing - need for staff to be aware of and implement procedures for notifying the local authority and parents as appropriate.
- Ensure children understand the risks and know who to ask for support on issues (e.g. child sexual exploitation, domestic violence, female genital mutilation, forced marriage).
- Measures in place to take effective action to prevent and tackle discriminatory and derogatory language (e.g. racist, homophobic or disability discriminatory language).