An updated Keeping Children Safe in Education was implemented in September 2021. KCSIE 2021 The key changes relate to staff that don’t work directly with children on a regular basis can read a condensed version of part 1 (Annex A) There is new guidance on expectations around tacking sexual violence and harassment (including per on peer abuse). There is new information on what your child protection policy should include and updated guidance on the two levels of allegations against staff, those that may meet the harms threshold and those that don’t (low level concerns). Guidance in online safety has been moved to part 2 to give it more prominence (previously in Annex C) There is new best practice advice on recruitment processes and updated guidance on conducting pre-employment checks.

It is important that you:

  • update your Child Protection Policy and Safer Recruitment Policy to take account of the changes
  • ensure that any staff and governors are aware of the key changes and take appropriate action if required

In addition to KCSIE 2021, schools should consider the information about safeguarding that was issued by the DfE in Managing coronavirus (COVID-19) in education and childcare settings

Updated on 24 February 2022, please note Contingency framework: education and childcare settings.


The MASH is open as usual, with normal operating hours and in line with government guidelines. The MASH are always happy to receive calls from schools if they have a query or are unsure of a situation.

Sexual abuse in schools

A review on sexual harassment and sexual violence, including sexual abuse was published by Ofsted on 10 June 2021. It considered a number of areas, including:

  • whether the safeguarding guidance to schools is strong enough to safeguard children
  • how schools can be further supported to teach the new RSHE curriculum
  • multi-agency safeguarding arrangements
  • how well schools and colleges listen to the voices of children when reporting sexual abuse

Schools should review their child protection policies and behaviour policies and PSHE scheme of work to ensure that they are robust in relation to sexual abuse. Read the full document

Toolkits that may support schools

There is a dedicated NSPCC helpline 0800 136 663 to provide both children and adults who are potential victims of sexual abuse in schools with the appropriate support and advice. This includes how to contact the police and report crimes if they wish. The helpline will also provide support to parents and professionals too.

Leaders should be aware that there has been an update to the School inspection handbook (9 February 2022). Ofsted will look at how leaders ensure that their school’s culture addresses harmful sexual behaviour. See paragraphs 67, 236, 252 and 316 of the school inspection handbook.

DBS Barred List Checks

Important Changes from 1st April 2021

From the 1st April 2021, standalone checks of the children's barred list will be administered by the Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA) on behalf of the DfE. This means that standalone barred list checks can no longer be obtained from TP Online or from the various umbrella bodies and supply agencies who currently sell these checks.

Schools need to ensure that they see the original (paper) DBS certificate for all new appointments in regulated activity with children. A digital certificate or letter of clearance is not acceptable.

If the appointee is transferring directly from another school in England without a break in service of 3 months or more, the appointing school can undertake a stand-alone barred list check using the TRA website.

For further information, see:

If you have any questions about these changes, you can contact the DfE at; or if you have any questions about access to the replacement service contact: