On the 1st of September 2022, the Department for Education (DfE) published their 2022 version of Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSiE). This is a statutory guidance for all schools including maintained nursery schools. However, early years providers are advised that they ‘may find it helpful to refer to the guidance’ as best practice. Throughout the guidance there is the use of the terms ‘must’ and ‘should’ For clarity, ‘must’ refers to when a person is legally required to do something and ‘should’ means that the advice set out should be followed unless there is a good reason not to.
What do I need to ask my staff to read?
In all settings, it is essential that everybody understands their safeguarding responsibilities, which means that early year providers should ensure that their staff and volunteers who work directly with children, read at least Part one of the guidance.
This is because Part one provides essential safeguarding information for everyone who comes into contact with children. Staff and volunteers are vitally important as your frontline safeguarding eyes and ears, as they are in a strong position to identify concerns early, as they have regular contact with your children, their families and as so are able to early identify any emerging concerns and report them to the safeguarding lead promptly, which means you can often prevent them from escalating.
It is true that no one person can have a full picture of a child’s needs and circumstances. Therefore, all settings should embed a strong approach and culture to safeguarding maintaining an attitude of ‘it could happen here’. This means having staff who have a strong awareness and understanding of the signs and indicators of child abuse and neglect, whether that be inside or outside your setting or home and even online.
Knowing what to do if they are worried a child is being abused or who and where to seek advice, is vital for early identification of concerns.
Part one also covers the role of staff in providing a safe environment in which children can learn. This means understanding the systems which support safeguarding within your setting which will include your safeguarding policies, the role of your safeguarding lead and local early help processes, training including online safety, and managing the requirement to maintain an appropriate level of confidentiality and never promising a child that they will not tell anyone about a report of any form of abuse – the above should be explained to staff as part of staff induction.
KCSiE 22 advises staff should be aware that children may not feel or know how to tell that they are being abused or neglected or even recognise their experiences as harmful. In these cases, it is crucial that staff have professional curiosity and speak with their safeguarding leads about concerns.
Where staff have raised a concern, written records of the concern should be made, this may also be helpful if/when responding to any complaints about the way a case has been handled internally. Records should include a clear and comprehensive summary, details of how the concern was followed up and resolved including any action taken, decisions reached and the outcome. If there is any doubt about recording information or information sharing, staff should discuss with their safeguarding lead.
Why is all this important?
Research and serious case reviews have repeatedly shown the dangers of failing to take effective action. Poor safeguarding practices include:
- Failing to act on and refer the early signs of abuse and neglect
- Poor record keeping
- Failing to listen to the views of the child
- Sharing information too slowly
- A lack of challenge to those who appear not to be taking action
In addition, KCSiE 22, Annex B provides staff and volunteers with important additional information about specific safeguarding issues and should also be read by those staff and volunteers who work directly with children.
Finally, it is key that leaders of settings consider what mechanisms they have in place to assist their staff to understand and discharge their roles and responsibilities e.g. this could be in the form of safeguarding quizzes, which could demonstrate that staff have read and fully understanding their duties.
What does Part 2 tell us?
Part two of the guidance sets out responsibilities for safeguarding, this means settings must ensure they comply with their duties under legislation including which policies should be adopted by your setting, training provided such as safeguarding and child protection, safeguarding lead, safer recruitment, Prevent and FGM.
Within the new guidance there is also a greater emphasis on the requirements under the statutory duties of the Human Rights Act, Equality Act, UK GDPR and data protection, the staff code of conduct, allegations and low-level concerns and SEND.
This section of the guidance should be read by all those involved in the management of the setting.
What does Part 3 tell us?
Part three is around safer recruitment and the importance for providers to adopt robust recruitment procedures that deter and prevent people who are unsuitable to work with children from applying for or securing employment, or volunteering opportunities in their setting.
It now has four sections providing guidance from pre-appointment all the way through to induction. Detailing areas such as not accepting CVs, references, pre-employment checks, legislation around criminal record checks. employing ex-offenders and online searches for shortlisted candidates.
This section should be read by all those involved within the recruitment process for the setting.
What does Part 4 tell us?
Part four provides guidance on safeguarding concerns and allegations made against staff, supply, volunteers and contractors. It is in two sections:
- Allegations that may meet the harm threshold
- Allegations that do not meet the harm threshold
Guidance is provided on how to respond to, how to manage allegations and concerns, information sharing, recording and when to seek advice from the Local Authority Designated officer (LADO).
This section should be read by all those involved in the management of the setting.
Safeguarding Lead Practitioner eLearning Training
The lead safeguarding practitioner is responsible for liaising with their local statutory children’s services, providing safeguarding support, advice and guidance to staff and completing training that enables them to identify, understand and respond appropriately to signs of possible abuse and neglect. The lead safeguarding practitioner must attend child protection training.
Our flexible, self-paced eLearning courses are currently being updated to incorporate the 2022 guidance.
- Designated Safeguarding Lead New to Role
- Designated Safeguarding Lead Refresher
- Early Years Safeguarding Lead
Parenta members can receive 10% discount on all our eLearning courses by registering their interest here.
KCSiE Part 1 and Annex B For all those working directly with children.
KCSiE Full document For proprietors, management committees, senior leaders, safeguarding leads.
What to do if you are worried a child is being abuse For all staff and volunteers.
Safeguarding Practitioners Information Sharing Advice For safeguarding leads and frontline practitioners.
About the author:
Yvonne Sinclair is an award-winning Independent Safeguarding Consultant, Trainer and Presenter specialising in the education and early years sectors and the founder of Safeguarding Support Limited. Yvonne has a wealth of safeguarding and child protection experience, having developed the role of National Safeguarding Officer for a national children’s charity. In that role she was responsible for leading on and developing safeguarding compliance, policy, and training.
2015 saw Yvonne moving to an become independent, supporting educational providers and early years settings with all aspects of their safeguarding requirements to ensure organisational confidence of safeguarding compliance. Yvonne is AET qualified, trained in child protection by the NSPCC, an accredited trainer to deliver Safer Recruitment by the Safer Recruitment Consortium, a member of the Association of Child Protection Professionals (formerly BASPCAN), Child Protection in Education (CAPE) and National Association of Designated Safeguard Leads (NADSL).
As all early years safeguarding leads are more than aware, there are constant changes of safeguarding statutory legislation and best practice and sometimes the understanding and clarity of those changes and our roles within them may become a little confused - none more so than within all the recent updates in EYFS, safer recruitment, early years online safety…. just to name a few.
Yvonne’s aim is to ensure that ‘safeguarding is simplified’. Find out more about Yvonne, her team and the support services they offer at www.safeguardingsupport.com.