This government is committed to keeping children safe. All children, from whatever background and no matter what challenges they face, deserve a safe environment in which they can learn.
Today my department is publishing the government response to the recent Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSIE) consultation. KCSIE is statutory guidance that schools and colleges must have regard to when carrying out their duties to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. Children in this context includes anyone under the age of 18.
Alongside revised statutory guidance, the department is publishing revised advice covering child on child sexual violence and sexual harassment.
The KCSIE consultation ran between 14 December 2017 and 22 February 2018. We were delighted to receive 311 responses. Officials have carefully considered every response and we have made additional changes to strengthen KCSIE as a result.
The most significant revision to KCSIE is the inclusion of a new Part 5 to support schools and colleges respond to reports of child on child sexual violence and sexual harassment. It is an important step in protecting children to include a dedicated Part, covering this complex issue, in the statutory guidance. We were pleased that 87% of respondents agreed explicitly that schools and colleges holding more than one emergency contact number for each child was sensible. As such, we have included this in the revised guidance. Other changes include making the guidance even clearer that where staff have a safeguarding concern they should act on it immediately and providing more information about vulnerable children who may benefit from early help.
The sexual violence and sexual harassment advice has been strengthened to, amongst other things, be clear that it is relevant for all schools, to be clear that child on child abuse can take place between children of all ages, provide more details as to what sexual harassment can look like and provide additional links to specialist support. The revised advice is published today and is available immediately to support schools and colleges.
As part of the government response, we are publishing the revised KCSIE for information. This will allow schools and colleges time to consider any changes they might want to make to their policies and procedures before the revised guidance comes into force on 3 September 2018. Until the revised guidance comes into force, schools and colleges must continue to have regard to the existing KCSIE 2016 guidance.
Copies of the government response, KCSIE and the sexual violence and sexual harassment advice will be placed in the House Library and are available on the government website here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/keeping-children-safe-in-education-proposed-revisions, https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/keeping-children-safe-in-education--2 and https://www.gov.uk/education/safeguarding-pupils.
This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: