The Optimus blog

The blog that inspires leaders in the UK education sector

The Optimus blog

The blog that inspires leaders in the UK education sector

Dai Durbridge

Child Protection in Education: your top 5 questions answered

From safeguarding records and new KCSIE guidance to policies and risk assessment, lawyer Dai Durbridge provides answers to the most popular questions asked by delegates at our recent conference. 

1. Does the duty of passing on safeguarding records when a child moves schools rest with the old school or the new school? 

Dai: It is the responsibility of the DSL at the old school to pass them on to the new school as soon as possible. Annex B of Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSIE) makes it clear that the file should be securely transferred, separately from the main file, and confirmation of receipt should be obtained.

It is good practice for the old school to keep a copy (electronic or hard copy) until such time as confirmation of receipt is received from the new school. In the vast majority of cases the copy file at the old school should then be destroyed. 

This is because the old school has no good reason to keep the file and if a copy were to be maintained after the child has left the school, that school could be criticised by the Information Commissioner for retaining sensitive information that it no longer relevant or required.

In the rare cases where it is believed that some or all of the information should be retained by the old school, it is sensible to seek advice as to what to keep, where and why.

2. How should schools approach the updating of their safeguarding policy in line with the continuous changes to regulations regarding safeguarding?

Dai: The guidance makes it clear that the policy should be reviewed at least annually as a minimum. If you are to review more frequently than that, you should only do so if you have good reason.

Too many reviews in a short period of time causes challenges with dissemination to staff and can undermine their confidence in applying the correct, up-to-date policy.

Where there is a significant change to guidance or if there has been a significant safeguarding issue at your school then it would be sensible to review policy. Certainly on the latter example it would show good practice to review policy and tweak it as a result of a learning following a review into a safeguarding incident.

3. When KCSIE says that all staff must read and understand part one, are we including cleaners, canteen staff, sports centre staff etc? 

Dai: Yes, all staff must read the guidance. Training should be proportionate to the role and the amount of time that the individual spends with pupils.

4. Is there any policy or risk assessment that could cover adults entering school who have not signed in, such as parents from other schools who are in the building or grounds to watch a sporting event?

Dai: There is no expectation or requirement to carry out any checks on parents or other adult visitors in these circumstances. 

It is sensible to have a basic risk assessment for large sporting occasions or other school events to ensure that no unauthorised persons can find themselves in parts of the schools where they have no reason to be.

5. Any advice on how we can present evidence that staff have read and understood KCSIE?

Dai: In general terms there are two main ways to evidence that staff have read and understood guidance – asking them and having a simple written record setting out which staff have read the document or received training on it. 

When it comes to inspection, it is likely that one or more staff members will be asked questions on the guidance which will be the strongest evidence that your systems for ensuring compliance are working. 

The written record does not need to be a complicated document. Some schools ask staff to sign a sheet to confirm they have read it, others use voting buttons on emails instead. Either method (or others) are fine.

The key is ensuring it is simple to understand and can be easily accessed during inspection.

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