Due to the disruption caused by the pandemic, the update process to the Keeping Children Safe in Education guidance is a little different this year. In fact, the consultation that seeks views on revisions to the document was withdrawn permanently on 10th July, as the Government wants schools and colleges to instead focus on their response to COVID-19.
The time that the consultation was running did generate some changes, a small number of which will still come into force on 1st September 2020. These include:
- Legislative changes to ensure the guidance remains current
- The provision of additional helpful support and information, such as on mental health and children in need
- Any important clarifications.
As well as guidance around the pandemic, the new updates include information to help staff make the link between mental health concerns and safeguarding issues, as well as including signposting links for more information.
There are more details about child criminal exploitation and child sexual exploitation – plus clarification on adhering to the GDPR. This is supported by a new data protection toolkit to help schools to ensure they are operating in line with the regulations.
Annex C of the document discusses online safety and reinforces the fact that schools should have the mechanisms in place to keep children safe while online. New links to further guidance are provided to help schools achieve this, including “Safeguarding and remote education during coronavirus (COVID-19)”, that outlines how to follow safeguarding procedures when planning remote education strategies and teaching remotely.