Keeping Children Safe in Education 2023 Update

Friday, July 7, 2023

Ready for September 2023, Keeping children safe in Education 2023 has been updated by the Department for Education (DFE) and has been amended from its 2022 version for the wording to fall in line with the Behaviour in schools guidance.

There have been a number of changes that everyone in the education sector needs to embrace, so in this news article; our Compliance Manager, Toni Pike runs through these changes and explains what they mean in more details.

Updates made include:

  • Clarification of filtering and monitoring (roles and expectations)
  • Children missing and absent from education
  • Remaining compliant with online pre-recruitment checks
  • Changes in the law around forced marriage
  • Responding to allegations for organisations and individuals using school premises

Filtering and Monitoring:

Potentially harmful and inappropriate materials need to be filtered and monitored to safeguard pupils in schools and colleges. All staff must undergo safeguarding and child protection training, including an understanding of the role-specific expectations and responsibilities concerning online safety. Governing bodies and proprietors should be doing all they reasonably can to limit children’s exposure to risk from the school or college’s IT system. It is the responsibility of the DSL (Designated Safeguarding Lead) to ensure all staff within the school/college are aware of the provisions in place and they should know how to manage them effectively. There should also be a process identified for escalating concerns if they are identified. The Department for Education has published filtering and monitoring standards to support schools in monitoring the appropriateness of their systems (Meeting digital and technology standards in schools and colleges - Filtering and monitoring standards for schools and colleges. Schools should address and consider cyber security standards outlined by the DfE (Meeting digital and technology standards in schools and colleges - Cyber security standards for schools and colleges).

Children missing education:

The guidance highlights that being absent from education and being absent from education for prolonged periods or repeatedly can be warning signs of safeguarding concerns including sexual abuse, neglect, sexual exploitation, or child criminal exploitation. It is integral that a school’s response to this absence supports the identification of abuse.

Pre-recruitment checks:

It is good practice to inform shortlisted candidates that online searches may be carried out as part of the due diligence process which can highlight incidents or issues that are publicly available online and that anything identified may then be discussed at the interview.

Forced marriage:

An addition was made in February 2023 when the law around the minimum age for marriage substituted the age from 16 to 18, making it a crime to carry out the solemnization of marriage before the 18th birthday of the child. Regardless of whether violence, threats or coercion are used. This replies to all marriages including non-binding and unofficial ‘marriages.’ Marriage And Civil Partnership (Minimum Age) Act 2022.

Organisations or Individuals using school premises:

Allegations that relate to individuals or organisations using school premises for the purpose of running activities for children should be addressed in the same way as an allegation made within the school. The school safeguarding policy and process should always be followed and if applicable the LADO informed.