Last reviewed 4 July 2022

We reported earlier this year that the Department for Education (DfE) had invited comments on proposed amendments to the 2021 statutory guidance Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSIE), with a view to making changes for September this year (see Have Your Say on Keeping Children safe in Education).

That consultation concluded in March and the government response to the 700 replies it received was published in May (and can be found here).

The consultation provided respondents with an opportunity to comment on proposed revisions made across all parts of the guidance, as well as the proposed incorporation of the stand-alone Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment Between Children in Schools and Colleges Advice, which the DfE proposed to withdraw.

The response document sets out where public feedback has been used to clarify or amend the KCSIE guidance in areas including, child-on-child sexual violence and sexual harassment; the management of safeguarding, safer recruitment of staff and safeguarding concerns and/or allegations of abuse made about staff — including supply teachers, volunteers and contractors.

Following this major consultation exercise, the DfE has now published Keeping Children Safe in Education 2022: Statutory Guidance for Schools and Colleges, which is available here.

When it comes into force on 1 September 2022, schools and colleges in England must have regard to this 177-page document when carrying out their duties to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. It includes, as Annex F, a table of substantive changes from the previous guidance.

“It is essential that everybody working in a school or college understands their safeguarding responsibilities,” the document states. “Governing bodies and proprietors should ensure that those staff who work directly with children read at least Part one of this guidance.”

Still in force

It is important to note that, until the new revised guidance comes into force on 1 September, the existing (2021) statutory guidance still applies, and schools and colleges must continue to have regard to its provisions.

In addition, until 1 September, the existing advice Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment Between Children in Schools and Colleges is still in force.