The changes to the KCSIE and other safeguarding documentation in March were described by the DfE as "technical". Our experience is that many schools have not woken up to this development and will need to do so quickly. The main changes and points of interest are below.
1. KCSIE still requires schools to make it clear in their policies and procedures that any member of staff (including volunteers) can make a referral to children's social care if there is a risk of immediate serious harm to a child. However, it now also emphasises that, although staff can approach children's social care services directly in exceptional circumstances, they are expected to raise concerns with the school's designated safeguarding lead in the first instance.
2. There was some confusion in the original KCSIE as to whether the requirement is to report allegations against staff to the designated safeguarding lead or to the headteacher. The revised guidance clarifies that concerns about a member of staff should be reported to the headteacher or where the concern involves the headteacher, to the chair of governors.
3. KCSIE now expressly requires schools to consider reporting historical abuse allegations to the police.
4. Child protection files must be transferred securely between schools, separate from the main pupil file, and DfE now recommends that schools obtain a confirmation of receipt.
5. KCSIE now makes reference to carrying out appropriate childcare disqualification checks for those who work in childcare provision and refers schools to the statutory guidance in Disqualification Under the Childcare Act 2006. This confirms that these checks are now an inspection standard for relevant roles.
6. The guidance on checking volunteers has been slightly revised. Schools are able to obtain a DBS check for most volunteers. As they are available without cost, our advice is that they are obtained wherever possible. Schools would also benefit from requiring those who volunteer regularly to register with the DBS update service, which is also free of charge for volunteers.