Keeping children safe in education – updated guidance

Keeping children safe in education – updated guidance

The DfE has revised guidance for schools and colleges on keeping children safe in education, which will commence 3 September 2018.


The DfE published guidance dated 5 September 2016, setting out the legal duties schools and colleges must comply with in order to keep children safe in education, and should be read alongside the Working together to safeguard children guidance from the DfE.

In the guidance, children include everyone under the age of 18. The advice is aimed at school and college staff with a responsibility to provide a safe environment in which children can learn. The guidance provides the duties and good practices that should be complied with to keep children safe.

All staff should be asked to read at least Part one of the guidance, which is available as a standalone document for ease to staff. Part one offers safeguarding information for all staff, and includes setting out some of the following:

  • The role of the school and college staff;
  • What the school and college staff need to know and look out for;
  • Actions to be taken once a concern has been raised; and
  • Record keeping

Changes to the advice

Following recent consultation, the government proposed to update and replace the current statutory guidance. Some of the following changes have been made:

  • Early help – the 2018 advice includes additional information making it clear that any child may benefit from early help, and the list of those who may need help is not exhaustive and may include, early help for a child who is disabled, has special educational needs, who has a carer, who is showing signing of being drawn in to anti-social or criminal behaviour, to a child who is at risk of being radicalised or exploited.
  • The role of school and college staff – it is key that all schools and colleges are aware of the important role they have in identifying concerns and the process that should follow. The new guidance emphasises the importance of raising a concern and clarifies the role of the designated safeguarding lead in the assessment and referral process. Every school should have a designated safeguarding lead to support staff in safeguarding children, and they are usually the first person to be notified if a concern arises.
  • Children missing from education – Annex A has been amended to focus on the link between children missing in education and the welfare and safeguarding concerns that all staff should be aware of. The 2016 advice was focused predominately on the management response to the children missing education.
  • Sexual violence and sexual harassment – the 2018 advice makes it clear that sexual violence and harassment can occur between two children of any age and sex.

There have also been some minor amendments to ensure the guidance reflects the most up to date terminology and legislation, including references to The National College for Teaching and leadership (NCTL) to reflect that from 1 April 2018, its functions will be dealt with by the newly established Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA).

This is just a brief summary of some of the main changes to the guidance. The revised guidance will commence on 3 September 2018, until that point schools and colleges must continue to use the 2016 guidance. The DfE are committed to keeping the advice under review and will review the effectiveness of the amended guidance in 12-18 months’ time.

For more information or assistance, please contact the Education team.