Support and guidance for schools during COVID-19 (safeguarding)
Prevent Act Early
Sexual abuse in schools
DBS Barred List Checks
To provide advice to schools (and settings) about safeguarding matters. To ensure that safeguarding requirements continue to be met during the Covid-19 emergency.
Keeping children safe in education
A new Keeping Children Safe in Education will be implemented in September 2021. KCSIE 2021 The key changes relate 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 an 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 mat 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.
Safeguarding January 2021
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
This states that schools should:
Early years providers, schools, out-of-school settings and FE providers (ideally led by the designated safeguarding lead (DSL) or a deputy) should review their child protection policy so that it reflects the local restrictions and remains effective.
It is expected that schools, out-of-school settings and FE providers will have a trained DSL (or deputy) available on site. However, it is recognised that for some schools and FE providers there may be operational challenges to this. In such cases, there are two options to consider:
• a trained DSL (or deputy) from the early years setting, school, out-of-school settings or FE provider can be available to be contacted via phone or online video, for example working from home
• sharing trained DSLs (or deputies) with other settings, schools or FE providers (who should be available to be contacted via phone or online video)
Where a trained DSL (or deputy) is not on site, in addition to one of the above options, a senior leader should take responsibility for co-ordinating safeguarding on site
The MASH is open as usual, with normal operating hours and in line with government guidelines. Children and families are being routinely visited. Strategy meetings are being held virtually and schools will be provided with dial in details. Not all universal support services are fully operational so there is some limitation on services available for families to be referred on to, however this is changing constantly.
However, the MASH are understandably receiving a high volume of referrals concerning families, many of whom were not previously known to them. Please consider some of the Early Help services which are available before sending referrals straight to MASH. The resources are detailed on the council website in the Early Help Directory
The MASH are always happy to receive calls from schools if they have a query or are unsure of a situation.
During these challenging times, schools are in a unique position. They are the people who are most likely to have the knowledge of vulnerable families and are often best placed to assist and support them too.
The MK-ACT team continue to work as normal, conducting appointments over the phone wherever possible. They are ensuring that the phone numbers and mail boxes listed below are covered during office hours of 9am – 5pm. If you need to speak to someone out of these hours you can ring the National Domestic Violence Helpline on: 0808 2000 247
- Crisis Service Helpline – 0344 3754307 and firstname.lastname@example.org
- Professionals Helpline – 01908 295731 and email@example.com
- Fresh Start – 07718 767974 and firstname.lastname@example.org
- Programmes and Training (Freedom Programme, First Steps to Freedom etc) 07827 358721 and email@example.com
The Refuge Service continues to work as normal following government advice and can be contacted on: firstname.lastname@example.org and 01908 523720
Fresh Start Perpetrator Programme and training continues to work as normal following government guidelines and can be contacted on: email@example.com and 07718 767674
Please note that the MK-ACT’s Crisis Service have suspended all face to face and group appointments.
Prevent - Act Early
Counter Terrorism Police has launched their new Prevent campaign called Act Early. The campaign includes the launch of a dedicated police website - https://actearly.uk/.
The campaign recognises the additional risks related to Covid and increased time spent online. There are a wide range of resources, posters and videos which can be used with staff and may be adapted for use with pupils - https://www.counterterrorism.police.uk/actearlypartners/
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; and
- How well schools and colleges listen to the voices of children when reporting sexual abuse
Schools should review their child protection policies to ensure that they are robust in relation to sexual abuse.
Read the document here:
Toolkits that may support schools include:
- Peer-on-peer abuse toolkit (Farrer and Co)
- Harmful sexual behaviour prevention toolkit (Lucy Faithfull Foundation)
Find a range of other useful resources from Stop It Now! here: https://www.stopitnow.org.uk/resources/
- Beyond Referrals: levers for addressing harmful sexual behaviour in schools (Contextual Safeguarding Network)
There is a new 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.
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.
The Teaching Regulation Agency website is here: https://teacherservices.education.gov.uk/
For further information, see: https://www.teacherspensions.co.uk/employers/tp-online-page.aspx
If you have any questions about these changes, you can contact the DfE at firstname.lastname@example.org; or if you have any questions about access to the replacement service contact: Employer.Access@education.gov.uk
Last Updated: 6 September 2021