A heads-up on KCSiE updates for 2019

The Department for Education will publish an updated version of the Keeping Children Safe in Education statutory guidance document on 2nd September 2019, in time for the new academic year. Here, we take a look at the draft version, that highlights the modifications and additions to look out for.


The Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSiE) document can trace its roots back to the old Safeguarding Children and Safer Recruitment in Education guidance from 2006. However, in recent years, the guidance has continually evolved to respond to current trends and risks. One underlying principle guides the entire document – that safeguarding children in education is everyone’s responsibility; highlighting that all staff (including teachers, support staff and volunteers), must receive annual safeguarding training, including specific training on digital safeguarding. The guidance also gives practical implementation advice: namely, the need for every pupil to receive regular, age-appropriate, tailored online safety training to enable the ongoing development of digital citizenship and online safety awareness. Direction and recommendations for the use of flexible and appropriate filtering and monitoring software were also outlined for all schools.

Online safeguarding
The updated KCSiE guidance reinforces that all staff need to be on the look-out for online or digital behavioural problems that can put students in danger – highlighting once again that all staff should always report any potential safeguarding issues to the designated safeguarding lead, even when unsure.

Recognising behaviours linked to online safeguarding is vitally important and the KCSiE guidance states that all staff should be aware of and recognise behaviours linked to digital/online sexual harassment. This includes non-consensual sharing of sexual images or videos; sexualised online bullying; unwanted sexual comments or messages (including those on social media or group-chat platforms); sexual exploitation, coercion or threats.

New additions and amendments
A new addition to the 2019 paper, under the heading of ‘Peer on Peer Abuse’ is upskirting; a form of sexual harassment which involves taking a photograph up a person’s skirt without their knowledge or consent. Upskirting became a criminal offence in England and Wales in April 2019 and any suggestions of an incident at a school must be treated swiftly and with extreme sensitivity.

There is now also more emphasis on ‘contextual safeguarding’. Schools are asked to consider what happens outside of school – as well as on site. When students are online, NetSupport DNA helps staff to do this with its contextual intelligence-based Risk Index. This tool takes account of the time, location, whether the student is in a lesson or unsupervised and so on – and applies a score when an alert is triggered, giving teachers a greater insight into a student’s vulnerability at a single point in time.

Another 2019 amendment, which was added under the heading of ‘Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment Between Children in Schools and Colleges’ is the displaying of drawings of a sexual nature, which has been included in addition to pictures and photos. This of course can relate directly to digital devices, where such drawings can be easily created, stored and shared.

The recent update of the KCSiE document has seen some general reorganisation, which includes the transition of increased information from the appendices into the central ‘Part 1’ section. As a ‘must read’ section of the guidance, all staff will be required to read the revised Part 1 in its entirety.

In addition, to help designated safeguarding leads when reviewing their internal policies, annex H (pages 108 onwards) can act as a useful checklist. The main areas, mentioned earlier around upskirting, also include the descriptions and examples of what serious violence is; the new education requirements for Relationships Education and online safety in PHSE (as well as links to DfE guidance on the delivery of training); checks on school governors and associate members; and, forced marriage and female genital mutilation being included with “so-called ‘honour based’ violence”.

For Designated Safeguarding Leads and Network Managers, I have put together two simple checklists to help with compliance from 2nd September 2019.

For Designated Safeguarding Leads
Ensure that you have read the new KCSiE 2019 document and that you are aware of any amendments and additions. Preview the draft version here.

  1. Organise for all staff in your school to receive their annual safeguarding training including information on the added or amended material.
  2. Reiterate to all staff, that Part 1 of the KCSiE document must be read – even for those staff who have read it previously – to make themselves familiar with amendments and additions.
  3. Initiate a register for staff to sign, to confirm when they have read the updated version of the guidance.
  4. Check with your Network Manager that your current filtering and monitoring software will adapt to meet current guidelines and changes.

For Network Managers
Ensure that you have read the new KCSiE 2019 document and that you are aware of any amendments and additions. Preview the draft version here.

  1. Check with your provider of filtering and monitoring software that your software is up to date to account for any amendments and additions to the KCSiE Guidance.
  2. Confirm with your provider that any potential instances of online sexual harassment are being captured specifically relating to the addition of non-consensual sharing of sexual images with relation to the newly added issue of upskirting.
  3. Also confirm with your provider that your software is capturing relevant information in relation to the sending and receiving of sexual images, including pictures, photographs and drawings of a sexual nature.
  4. Finally, consider contextual safeguarding (added to KCSiE in September 2018) and ascertain whether your current systems are highlighting any wider issues which may relate, e.g. attendance.


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