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Keeping Children Safe in Education

 

Cerne Abbas CE VC First School, Duck Street, Cerne Abbas, Dorset, DT2 7LA

‘The Small School with the Big Heart.’

Tel: 01300 341319         e-mail:office@cerneabbas.dorset.sch.uk         Website: www.cerneabbas.dorset.sch.uk

 

Date of policyAutumn Term 2021

Date reviewed by the

Governing Body/Committee

13.09.2021 - FGB

Member of staff responsible in

Cerne Abbas CE VC First School

Alex Ryan
Review dateAutumn Term 2022

 

 

Keeping children safe in education  2021  

Statutory guidance for schools and  colleges

 

 

September 2021

Contents

Summary

4 What is the status of this guidance

4 About this guidance

4 Who is this guidance for?

5 What does this guidance replace?

6 Part one: Safeguarding information for all staff

7 What school and college staff should know and do

7 What school and college staff should do if they have concerns about a child

17 What school or college staff should do if they have concerns about safeguarding

practices within the school or college

21 Part two: The management of safeguarding

24 The responsibility of governing bodies,

proprietors and management committees

24 Part three: Safer recruitment

47 i. Recruitment and selection process

47 ii. Pre-appointment vetting checks, regulated activity and recording information

52 Prohibitions, directions, sanctions and restrictions

62 iii. Other checks that may be necessary for staff, volunteers and others, including the responsibilities on schools and colleges for children in other settings

67 iv. How to ensure the ongoing safeguarding of children and the legal reporting duties on employers

78 Part four: Allegations made against/Concerns raised in relation to teachers, including supply teachers, other staff, volunteers and contractors

81 Section one: Allegations that may meet the harms threshold

81 Section Two: Concerns that do not meet the harm threshold

94 Part five: Child on child sexual violence and sexual harassment

99 Responding to reports of sexual violence and sexual harassment

100 The immediate response to a report

101 Ongoing response

111 Annex A:

Safeguarding information for school and college staff

118 Annex B: Further information 123

2 Table of Contents

123 Annex C: Role of the designated safeguarding lead

143 Deputy designated safeguarding leads

143 Annex D: Online Safety

150 Information and support

150 Annex E: Host families - homestay during exchange visits

153 School/college arranged homestay – suitability of adults in UK host families

153 Homestay – suitability of adults in host families abroad

154 Annex F: Statutory guidance - Regulated activity (children) - Supervision of activity with children which is regulated activity when unsupervised

156 Examples

157 Annex G: Table of substantive changes from September 2021

 

Summary 

 

What is the status of this guidance 

 

This is statutory guidance from the Department for Education (‘the Department’) issued  under Section 175 of the Education Act 2002, the Education (Independent School  Standards) Regulations 2014, the Non-Maintained Special Schools (England)  Regulations 2015, and the Education and Training (Welfare of Children) Act 2021.  Schools and colleges in England must have regard to it when carrying out their duties to  safeguard and promote the welfare of children. For the purposes of this guidance  children includes everyone under the age of 18.  

 

 

About this guidance 

 

We use the terms “must” and “should” throughout the guidance. We use the term  “must” when the person in question is legally required to do something and “should”  when the advice set out should be followed unless there is good reason not to. The  guidance should be read alongside: 

 

  • statutory guidance Working Together to Safeguard Children;  
  • departmental advice What to do if you are Worried a Child is Being Abused -  Advice for Practitioners; and 
  • departmental advice Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment Between Children  in Schools and Colleges 

 

 

Unless otherwise specified: 

  • ‘school’ means: all schools whether maintained, non-maintained or independent  schools (including academies, free schools and alternative provision academies),  maintained nursery schools1 and pupil referral units. 
  • ‘college’ means further education colleges and sixth-form colleges as established  under the Further and Higher Education Act 1992, institutions designated as being  within the further education sector2 and providers of post 16 Education as set out in the Education and Training (Welfare of Children) Act 20213: 16-19 Academies,  Special Post-16 institutions and Independent Training Providers. For colleges, the  guidance relates to their responsibilities towards children who are receiving  education or training at these institutions.

 

1 The Early Years Foundation Stage Framework (EYFS) is mandatory for all early years’ providers. It applies to all  schools, including maintained nursery schools that have early years provision. Maintained nursery schools, like the  other schools listed under ‘About this guidance’, must have regard to Keeping children safe in education when carrying  out duties to safeguard and promote the welfare of children (by virtue of section 175(2) of the Education Act 2002 – see  footnote 21 for further detail on this requirement). 

2 Under section 28 of the Further and Higher Education Act 1992 (‘designated institutions’).

3 Education and Training (Welfare of Children) Act 2021

 

 

Who is this guidance for? 

 

This statutory guidance should be read and followed by: 

  • governing bodies of maintained schools (including maintained nursery schools)  and colleges; 
  • proprietors of independent schools (including academies, free schools and  alternative provision academies) and non-maintained special schools. In the case  of academies, free schools and alternative provision academies, the proprietor will  be the academy trust; 
  • management committees of pupil referral units (PRUs); and 
  • senior leadership teams.  

 

Throughout the guidance, reference to “governing bodies and proprietors” includes  management committees unless otherwise stated. 

 

 

School and college staff 

 

It is essential that everybody working in a school or college understands their  safeguarding responsibilities. Governing bodies and proprietors should ensure that those  staff who work directly with children read at least Part one of this guidance. Governing  bodies and proprietors, working with their senior leadership teams and especially their  designated safeguarding lead, should ensure that those staff who do not work directly  with children read either Part one or Annex A (a condensed version of Part one) of this  guidance. This is entirely a matter for the school or college and will be based on their  assessment of which guidance will be most effective for their staff to safeguard and  promote the welfare of children. 

 

Governing bodies and proprietors should ensure that mechanisms are in place to assist  staff to understand and discharge their role and responsibilities as set out in Part one (or  Annex A if appropriate) of this guidance. 

 

 

What does this guidance replace? 

 

This guidance replaces Keeping children safe in education 2020 updated January 2021.  A table of substantive changes is included at Annex G.

 

 

Part one: Safeguarding information for all staff 

 

What school and college staff should know and do

 

A child centred and coordinated approach to safeguarding 

 

1. Schools and colleges and their staff are an important part of the wider  safeguarding system for children. This system is described in the statutory guidance  Working Together to Safeguard Children.  

 

2. Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is everyone’s responsibility.  Everyone who comes into contact with children and their families has a role to play. In  order to fulfil this responsibility effectively, all practitioners should make sure their  approach is child-centred. This means that they should consider, at all times, what is in  the best interests of the child. 

 

3. No single practitioner can have a full picture of a child’s needs and  circumstances. If children and families are to receive the right help at the right time,  everyone who comes into contact with them has a role to play in identifying concerns, sharing information and taking prompt action. 

 

4. Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is defined for the purposes of  this guidance as: 

 

  • protecting children from maltreatment; 
  • preventing the impairment of children’s mental and physical health or  development; 
  • ensuring that children grow up in circumstances consistent with the provision of  safe and effective care; and 
  • taking action to enable all children to have the best outcomes. 

 

5. Children includes everyone under the age of 18. 

 

 

The role of school and college staff

 

6. School and college staff are particularly important, as they are in a position to  identify concerns early, provide help for children, promote children’s welfare and prevent  concerns from escalating. 

 

7. All staff have a responsibility to provide a safe environment in which children can  learn.

 

8. All staff should be prepared to identify children who may benefit from early help.4 Early help means providing support as soon as a problem emerges at any point in a  child’s life, from the foundation years through to the teenage years. 

 

9. Any staff member who has any concerns about a child’s welfare should follow  the processes set out in paragraphs 55-70. Staff should expect to support social  workers and other agencies following any referral. 

 

10. Every school and college should have a designated safeguarding lead who will  provide support to staff to carry out their safeguarding duties and who will liaise closely  with other services such as children’s social care. 

 

11. The designated safeguarding lead (and any deputies) are most likely to have a  complete safeguarding picture and be the most appropriate person to advise on the  response to safeguarding concerns. 

 

12. The Teachers’ Standards 2012 state that teachers (which includes  headteachers) should safeguard children’s wellbeing and maintain public trust in the  teaching profession as part of their professional duties.5 

 

What school and college staff need to know 

 

13. All staff should be aware of systems within their school or college which support  safeguarding and these should be explained to them as part of staff induction. This  should include the: 

 

  • child protection policy, which should amongst other things also include the policy  and procedures to deal with peer on peer abuse;  
  • behaviour policy (which should include measures to prevent bullying, including  cyberbullying, prejudice-based and discriminatory bullying);6 
  • staff behaviour policy (sometimes called a code of conduct); 
  • safeguarding response to children who go missing from education; and 
  • role of the designated safeguarding lead (including the identity of the designated  safeguarding lead and any deputies). 

 

Copies of policies and a copy of Part one (or Annex A, if appropriate) of this document  should be provided to all staff at induction.

 

4 Detailed information on early help can be found in Chapter 1 of Working Together to Safeguard Children. 5 The Teachers' Standards apply to: trainees working towards QTS; all teachers completing their statutory  induction period (newly qualified teachers [NQTs]); and teachers in maintained schools, including  maintained special schools, who are subject to the Education (School Teachers’ Appraisal) (England)  Regulations 2012. 

6 All schools are required to have a behaviour policy (full details are here). If a college or chooses to have a behaviour  policy it should be provided to staff as described above.

 

14. All staff should receive appropriate safeguarding and child protection training  (including online safety) at induction. The training should be regularly updated. In  addition, all staff should receive safeguarding and child protection (including online  safety) updates (for example, via email, e-bulletins and staff meetings), as required, and  at least annually, to provide them with relevant skills and knowledge to safeguard  children effectively. 

 

15. All staff should be aware of their local early help7 process and understand their  role in it. 

 

16. All staff should be aware of the process for making referrals to children’s social  care and for statutory assessments under the Children Act 1989, especially section 17  (children in need) and section 47 (a child suffering, or likely to suffer, significant harm)  that may follow a referral, along with the role they might be expected to play in such  assessments.8 

 

17. All staff should know what to do if a child tells them he/she is being abused,  exploited or neglected. Staff should know how to manage the requirement to maintain  an appropriate level of confidentiality. This means only involving those who need to be  involved, such as the designated safeguarding lead (or a deputy) and children’s social  care. Staff should never promise a child that they will not tell anyone about a report of  any form of abuse, as this may ultimately not be in the best interests of the child. 

 

18. All staff should be able to reassure victims that they are being taken seriously  and that they will be supported and kept safe. A victim should never be given the  impression that they are creating a problem by reporting abuse, sexual violence or  sexual harassment. Nor should a victim ever be made to feel ashamed for making a  report.  

 

7 Detailed information on early help can be found in Chapter 1 of Working Together to Safeguard Children

8 More detailed information on statutory assessments can be found in Chapter 1 of Working Together to  Safeguard Children.

 

What school and college staff should look out for  

 

Early help 

 

19. Any child may benefit from early help, but all school and college staff should be  particularly alert to the potential need for early help for a child who: 

 

  • is disabled or has certain health conditions and has specific additional needs; 
  • has special educational needs (whether or not they have a statutory Education,  Health and Care Plan); 
  • has a mental health need; 
  • is a young carer; 
  • is showing signs of being drawn in to anti-social or criminal behaviour, including  gang involvement and association with organised crime groups or county lines;  
  • is frequently missing/goes missing from care or from home; 
  • is at risk of modern slavery, trafficking, sexual or criminal exploitation;
  • is at risk of being radicalised or exploited; 
  • has a family member in prison, or is affected by parental offending; 
  • is in a family circumstance presenting challenges for the child, such as drug and  alcohol misuse, adult mental health issues and domestic abuse; 
  • is misusing drugs or alcohol themselves; 
  • has returned home to their family from care; 
  • is at risk of ‘honour’-based abuse such as Female Genital Mutilation or Forced  Marriage; 
  • is a privately fostered child; and 
  • is persistently absent from education, including persistent absences for part of the  school day.  

 

Abuse and neglect 

 

20. All staff should be aware of indicators of abuse and neglect. Knowing what to  look for is vital for the early identification of abuse and neglect (see paragraphs 26-30),  and specific safeguarding issues such as child criminal exploitation and child sexual  exploitation (see paragraphs 32-39) so that staff are able to identify cases of children  who may be in need of help or protection. 

 

21. If staff are unsure, they should always speak to the designated safeguarding  lead, or deputy. 

 

22. All school and college staff should be aware that abuse, neglect and  safeguarding issues are rarely standalone events and cannot be covered by one  definition or one label alone. In most cases, multiple issues will overlap with one  another, therefore staff should always be vigilant and always raise any concerns with  their designated safeguarding lead (or deputy).  

 

23. All staff should be aware that safeguarding incidents and/or behaviours can be  associated with factors outside the school or college and/or can occur between children outside of these environments. All staff, but especially the designated safeguarding  lead (and deputies) should consider whether children are at risk of abuse or exploitation  in situations outside their families. Extra-familial harms take a variety of different forms  and children can be vulnerable to multiple harms including (but not limited to) sexual  exploitation, criminal exploitation, sexual abuse, serious youth violence and county  lines.  

 

24. All staff should be aware that technology is a significant component in many  safeguarding and wellbeing issues. Children are at risk of abuse online as well as face  to face. In many cases abuse will take place concurrently via online channels and in  daily life. Children can also abuse their peers online, this can take the form of abusive,  harassing, and misogynistic messages, the non-consensual sharing of indecent images,  especially around chat groups, and the sharing of abusive images and pornography, to  those who do not want to receive such content. 

 

25. In all cases, if staff are unsure, they should always speak to the designated  safeguarding lead (or deputy). 

 

Indicators of abuse and neglect 

 

26. Abuse: a form of maltreatment of a child. Somebody may abuse or neglect a  child by inflicting harm or by failing to act to prevent harm. Children may be abused in a  family or in an institutional or community setting by those known to them or, more rarely,  by others. Abuse can take place wholly online, or technology may be used to facilitate  offline abuse. Children may be abused by an adult or adults or by another child or  children. 

 

27. Physical abuse: a form of abuse which may involve hitting, shaking, throwing,  poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating or otherwise causing physical  harm to a child. Physical harm may also be caused when a parent or carer fabricates  the symptoms of, or deliberately induces, illness in a child. 

 

28. Emotional abuse: the persistent emotional maltreatment of a child such as to  cause severe and adverse effects on the child’s emotional development. It may involve  conveying to a child that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued only  insofar as they meet the needs of another person. It may include not giving the child  opportunities to express their views, deliberately silencing them or ‘making fun’ of what  they say or how they communicate. It may feature age or developmentally inappropriate  expectations being imposed on children. These may include interactions that are  beyond a child’s developmental capability as well as overprotection and limitation of  exploration and learning or preventing the child from participating in normal social  interaction. It may involve seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of another. It may involve  serious bullying (including cyberbullying), causing children frequently to feel frightened  or in danger, or the exploitation or corruption of children. Some level of emotional abuse  is involved in all types of maltreatment of a child, although it may occur alone.

 

29. Sexual abuse: involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in  sexual activities, not necessarily involving violence, whether or not the child is aware of  what is happening. The activities may involve physical contact, including assault by  penetration (for example rape or oral sex) or non-penetrative acts such as masturbation,  kissing, rubbing, and touching outside of clothing. They may also include non-contact  activities, such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of, sexual images, watching sexual activities, encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate  ways, or grooming a child in preparation for abuse. Sexual abuse can take place online,  and technology can be used to facilitate offline abuse. Sexual abuse is not solely perpetrated by adult males. Women can also commit acts of sexual abuse, as can other  children. The sexual abuse of children by other children is a specific safeguarding issue  (also known as peer on peer abuse) in education and all staff should be aware of it and  of their school or colleges policy and procedures for dealing with it, (see paragraph 49).  

 

30. Neglect: the persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and/or  psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of the child’s health or  development. Neglect may occur during pregnancy, for example, as a result of maternal  substance abuse. Once a child is born, neglect may involve a parent or carer failing to:  provide adequate food, clothing and shelter (including exclusion from home or  abandonment); protect a child from physical and emotional harm or danger; ensure  adequate supervision (including the use of inadequate care-givers); or ensure access to  appropriate medical care or treatment. It may also include neglect of, or  unresponsiveness to, a child’s basic emotional needs. 

 

Safeguarding issues 

 

31. All staff should have an awareness of safeguarding issues that can put children  at risk of harm. Behaviours linked to issues such as drug taking and or alcohol misuse,  deliberately missing education and consensual and non-consensual sharing of nudes and semi-nudes images and/or videos9 can be signs that children are at risk. Other  safeguarding issues all staff should be aware of include: 

 

9 Consensual image sharing, especially between older children of the same age, may require a different response. It  might not be abusive – but children still need to know it is illegal- whilst non-consensual is illegal and abusive. UKCIS provides detailed advice about sharing of nudes and semi-nude images and videos.

 

Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) and Child Criminal Exploitation (CCE) 

 

32. Both CSE and CCE are forms of abuse that occur where an individual or group  takes advantage of an imbalance in power to coerce, manipulate or deceive a child into taking part in sexual or criminal activity, in exchange for something the victim needs or  wants, and/or for the financial advantage or increased status of the perpetrator or  facilitator and/or through violence or the threat of violence. CSE and CCE can affect  children, both male and female and can include children who have been moved  (commonly referred to as trafficking) for the purpose of exploitation.

 

Child Criminal Exploitation (CCE) 

 

33. Some specific forms of CCE can include children being forced or manipulated  into transporting drugs or money through county lines, working in cannabis factories,  shoplifting or pickpocketing. They can also be forced or manipulated into committing vehicle crime or threatening/committing serious violence to others. 

 

34. Children can become trapped by this type of exploitation as perpetrators can  threaten victims (and their families) with violence, or entrap and coerce them into debt.  They may be coerced into carrying weapons such as knives or begin to carry a knife for  a sense of protection from harm from others. As children involved in criminal  exploitation often commit crimes themselves, their vulnerability as victims is not always  recognised by adults and professionals, (particularly older children), and they are not  treated as victims despite the harm they have experienced. They may still have been  criminally exploited even if the activity appears to be something they have agreed or  consented to. 

 

35. It is important to note that the experience of girls who are criminally exploited can  be very different to that of boys. The indicators may not be the same, however  professionals should be aware that girls are at risk of criminal exploitation too. It is also  important to note that both boys and girls being criminally exploited may be at higher  risk of sexual exploitation. 

 

Further information about CCE including definitions and indicators is included in Annex B. Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) 

 

36. CSE is a form of child sexual abuse. Sexual abuse may involve physical contact,  including assault by penetration (for example, rape or oral sex) or nonpenetrative acts  such as masturbation, kissing, rubbing, and touching outside clothing. It may include  non-contact activities, such as involving children in the production of sexual images,  forcing children to look at sexual images or watch sexual activities, encouraging children  to behave in sexually inappropriate ways or grooming a child in preparation for abuse  including via the internet. 

 

37. CSE can occur over time or be a one-off occurrence, and may happen without  the child’s immediate knowledge e.g. through others sharing videos or images of them  on social media.

 

38. CSE can affect any child, who has been coerced into engaging in sexual  activities. This includes 16 and 17 year olds who can legally consent to have sex. Some  children may not realise they are being exploited e.g. they believe they are in a genuine  romantic relationship. 

 

39. Further information about CSE including definitions and indicators is included in  Annex B. 

 

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) 

 

40. Whilst all staff should speak to the designated safeguarding lead (or deputy) with  regard to any concerns about female genital mutilation (FGM), there is a specific legal  duty on teachers.10 If a teacher, in the course of their work in the profession, discovers  that an act of FGM appears to have been carried out on a girl under the age of 18, the  teacher must report this to the police. See Annex B for further details. 

 

10 Under section 5B(11) (a) of the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003, “teacher” means, in relation to  England, a person within section 141A(1) of the Education Act 2002 (persons employed or engaged to  carry out teaching work at schools and other institutions in England).

 

Mental Health 

 

41. All staff should be aware that mental health problems can, in some cases, be an  indicator that a child has suffered or is at risk of suffering abuse, neglect or exploitation. 

 

42. Only appropriately trained professionals should attempt to make a diagnosis of a  mental health problem. Education staff, however, are well placed to observe children  day-to-day and identify those whose behaviour suggests that they may be experiencing  a mental health problem or be at risk of developing one. 

 

43. Where children have suffered abuse and neglect, or other potentially traumatic  adverse childhood experiences, this can have a lasting impact throughout childhood,  adolescence and into adulthood. It is key that staff are aware of how these children’s  experiences, can impact on their mental health, behaviour, and education. 

 

44. Schools and colleges can access a range of advice to help them identify children  in need of extra mental health support, this includes working with external agencies.  More information can be found in the mental health and behaviour in schools guidance,  colleges may also wish to follow this guidance as best practice. Public Health England has produced a range of resources to support secondary school teachers to promote  positive health, wellbeing and resilience among children. See Rise Above for links to all materials and lesson plans. 

 

45. If staff have a mental health concern about a child that is also a safeguarding  concern, immediate action should be taken, following their child protection policy, and  speaking to the designated safeguarding lead or a deputy. 

 

Peer on peer abuse (child on child) 

 

46. All staff should be aware that children can abuse other children (often referred to  as peer on peer abuse). And that it can happen both inside and outside of school or  college and online. It is important that all staff recognise the indicators and signs of peer  on peer abuse and know how to identify it and respond to reports. 

 

47. All staff should understand, that even if there are no reports in their schools or  colleges it does not mean it is not happening, it may be the case that it is just not being  reported. As such it is important if staff have any concerns regarding peer on peer  abuse they should speak to their designated safeguarding lead (or deputy).  

 

48. It is essential that all staff understand the importance of challenging inappropriate behaviours between peers, many of which are listed below, that are  actually abusive in nature. Downplaying certain behaviours, for example dismissing  sexual harassment as “just banter”, “just having a laugh”, “part of growing up” or “boys  being boys” can lead to a culture of unacceptable behaviours, an unsafe environment  for children and in worst case scenarios a culture that normalises abuse leading to  children accepting it as normal and not coming forward to report it. 

 

49. Peer on peer abuse is most likely to include, but may not be limited to:

 

  • bullying (including cyberbullying, prejudice-based and discriminatory bullying); 
  • abuse in intimate personal relationships between peers;  
  • physical abuse such as hitting, kicking, shaking, biting, hair pulling, or otherwise  causing physical harm (this may include an online element which facilitates,  threatens and/or encourages physical abuse); 
  • sexual violence,11 such as rape, assault by penetration and sexual assault; (this  may include an online element which facilitates, threatens and/or encourages  sexual violence); 
  • sexual harassment,12 such as sexual comments, remarks, jokes and online sexual  harassment, which may be standalone or part of a broader pattern of abuse; 
  • causing someone to engage in sexual activity without consent, such as forcing  someone to strip, touch themselves sexually, or to engage in sexual activity with a  third party;  
  • consensual and non-consensual sharing of nudes and semi nudes images and or  videos13 (also known as sexting or youth produced sexual imagery); 
  • upskirting,14 which typically involves taking a picture under a person’s clothing  without their permission, with the intention of viewing their genitals or buttocks to  obtain sexual gratification, or cause the victim humiliation, distress or alarm; and
  • initiation/hazing type violence and rituals (this could include activities involving  harassment, abuse or humiliation used as a way of initiating a person into a group  and may also include an online element).  

 

 

11 For further information about sexual violence see Annex B. 

12 For further information about sexual harassment see Annex B.

 

50. All staff should be clear as to the school’s or college’s policy and procedures with  regards to peer on peer abuse and the important role they have to play in preventing it and responding where they believe a child may be at risk from it.  

 

Serious violence 

 

51. All staff should be aware of the indicators, which may signal children are at risk  from, or are involved with serious violent crime. These may include increased absence  from school, a change in friendships or relationships with older individuals or groups, a  significant decline in performance, signs of self-harm or a significant change in  

wellbeing, or signs of assault or unexplained injuries. Unexplained gifts or new  possessions could also indicate that children have been approached by, or are involved  with, individuals associated with criminal networks or gangs and may be at risk of  criminal exploitation (see paragraphs 33-35).  

 

52. All staff should be aware of the range of risk factors which increase the likelihood  of involvement in serious violence, such as being male, having been frequently absent  or permanently excluded from school, having experienced child maltreatment and  having been involved in offending, such as theft or robbery. Advice for schools and  colleges is provided in the Home Office’s Preventing youth violence and gang  involvement and its Criminal exploitation of children and vulnerable adults: county lines guidance.15 

 

13 UKCIS guidance: Sharing nudes and semi-nudes advice for education settings 

14 For further information about ‘upskirting’ see Annex B. 

15 For further information about county lines see Annex B

 

Additional information and support  

 

53. Departmental advice What to Do if You Are Worried a Child is Being Abused -  Advice for Practitioners provides more information on understanding and identifying  abuse and neglect. Examples of potential indicators of abuse and neglect are  highlighted throughout the advice and will be particularly helpful for school and college  staff. The NSPCC website also provides useful additional information on abuse and  neglect and what to look out for. 

 

54. Annex B contains important additional information about specific forms of abuse  and safeguarding issues. School and college leaders and those staff who work directly  with children should read the annex.

 

What school and college staff should do if they have concerns  about a child 

 

55. Staff working with children are advised to maintain an attitude of ‘it could  happen here’ where safeguarding is concerned. When concerned about the welfare of  a child, staff should always act in the best interests of the child. 

 

56. If staff have any concerns about a child’s welfare, they should act on them  immediately. See page 23 for a flow chart setting out the process for staff when they  have concerns about a child. 

 

57. If staff have a concern, they should follow their own organisation’s child  protection policy and speak to the designated safeguarding lead (or deputy). 

 

58. Options will then include:

 

  • managing any support for the child internally via the school’s or college’s own  pastoral support processes; 
  • undertaking an early help assessment;16 or 
  • making a referral to statutory services,17 for example as the child might be in need,  is in need or suffering, or is likely to suffer harm. 

 

 

16 Further information on early help assessments, provision of early help services and accessing services is  in Chapter 1 of Working Together to Safeguard Children. 

17 Chapter 1 of Working Together to Safeguard Children sets out that the safeguarding partners should publish  a threshold document that should include the criteria, including the level of need, for when a case should  be referred to local authority children’s social care for assessment and for statutory services under section  17 and 47. Local authorities, with their partners, should develop and publish local protocols for assessment.  A local protocol should set out clear arrangements for how cases will be managed once a child is referred  into local authority children’s social care.

 

59. The designated safeguarding lead or a deputy should always be available to  discuss safeguarding concerns. If in exceptional circumstances, the designated  safeguarding lead (or deputy) is not available, this should not delay appropriate action  being taken. Staff should consider speaking to a member of the senior leadership team  and/or take advice from local children’s social care. In these circumstances, any action  taken should be shared with the designated safeguarding lead (or deputy) as soon as is  practically possible. 

 

60. Staff should not assume a colleague, or another professional will take action and  share information that might be critical in keeping children safe. They should be mindful  that early information sharing is vital for the effective identification, assessment, and  allocation of appropriate service provision, whether this is when problems first emerge,  or where a child is already known to local authority children’s social care (such as a  child in need or a child with a protection plan). Information Sharing: Advice for  Practitioners Providing Safeguarding Services to Children, Young People, Parents and  Carers supports staff who have to make decisions about sharing information. This  advice includes the seven golden rules for sharing information and considerations with  regard to the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA) and UK General Data Protection  Regulation (UK GDPR). DPA and UK GDPR do not prevent the sharing of information  for the purposes of keeping children safe and promoting their welfare. If in any doubt  about sharing information, staff should speak to the designated safeguarding lead or a  deputy. Fears about sharing information must not be allowed to stand in the way of the  need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. 

 

Early help 

 

61. If early help is appropriate, the designated safeguarding lead (or deputy) will  generally lead on liaising with other agencies and setting up an inter-agency  assessment as appropriate. Staff may be required to support other agencies and  professionals in an early help assessment, in some cases acting as the lead  practitioner. Any such cases should be kept under constant review and consideration given to a referral to children’s social care for assessment for statutory services if the  child’s situation does not appear to be improving or is getting worse. 

 

Statutory children’s social care assessments and services 

 

62. Concerns about a child’s welfare should be referred to local authority children’s  social care. Where a child is suffering, or is likely to suffer from harm, it is important that  a referral to children’s social care (and if appropriate the police) is made immediately. Referrals should follow the local referral process.  

 

63. Children’s social care assessments should consider where children are being  harmed in contexts outside the home, so it is important that schools and colleges provide as much information as possible as part of the referral process. This will allow  any assessment to consider all the available evidence and enable a contextual  approach to address such harm. Additional information is available here: Contextual  Safeguarding. 

 

64. The online tool Report Child Abuse to Your Local Council directs to the relevant  local children’s social care contact number. 

 

Children in need 

 

65. A child in need is defined under the Children Act 1989 as a child who is unlikely  to achieve or maintain a reasonable level of health or development, or whose health  and development is likely to be significantly or further impaired, without the provision of  services; or a child who is disabled. Local authorities are required to provide services for  children in need for the purposes of safeguarding and promoting their welfare. Children  in need may be assessed under section 17 of the Children Act 1989. 

 

Children suffering or likely to suffer significant harm:  

 

66. Local authorities, with the help of other organisations as appropriate, have a duty  to make enquiries under section 47 of the Children Act 1989 if they have reasonable  cause to suspect that a child is suffering, or is likely to suffer, significant harm. Such  enquiries enable them to decide whether they should take any action to safeguard and  promote the child’s welfare and must be initiated where there are concerns about  maltreatment. This includes all forms of abuse and neglect, female genital mutilation, or  other so-called ‘honour’-based abuse, forced marriage and extra-familial harms like  radicalisation and sexual exploitation. 

 

What will the local authority do? 

 

67. Within one working day of a referral being made, a local authority social worker  should acknowledge its receipt to the referrer and make a decision about the next steps  and the type of response that is required. This will include determining whether: 

  • the child requires immediate protection and urgent action is required;
  • any services are required by the child and family and what type of services; 
  • the child is in need and should be assessed under section 17 of the Children Act  1989. Chapter one of Working Together to Safeguard Children provides details of  the assessment process; 
  • there is reasonable cause to suspect the child is suffering or likely to suffer  significant harm, and whether enquiries must be made, and the child assessed  under section 47 of the Children Act 1989. Chapter one of Working Together to  Safeguard Children provides details of the assessment process; and 
  • further specialist assessments are required to help the local authority to decide  what further action to take.  

 

68. The referrer should follow up if this information is not forthcoming. 

 

69. If social workers decide to carry out a statutory assessment, staff should do  everything they can to support that assessment (supported by the designated  safeguarding lead (or deputy) as required). 

 

70. If, after a referral, the child’s situation does not appear to be improving, the  referrer should consider following local escalation procedures to ensure their concerns  have been addressed and, most importantly, that the child’s situation improves. 

 

Record keeping 

 

71. All concerns, discussions and decisions made, and the reasons for those  decisions, should be recorded in writing. Information should be kept confidential and  stored securely. It is good practice to keep concerns and referrals in a separate child  protection file for each child.  

 

Records should include: 

  • a clear and comprehensive summary of the concern;  
  • details of how the concern was followed up and resolved; 
  • a note of any action taken, decisions reached and the outcome.  

 

72. If in doubt about recording requirements, staff should discuss with the designated  safeguarding lead (or deputy). 

 

Why is all of this important?  

 

73. It is important for children to receive the right help at the right time to address  safeguarding risks, prevent issues escalating and to promote children’s welfare.  Research and serious case reviews have repeatedly shown the dangers of failing to  take effective action.18 Further information about serious case reviews can be found in  Chapter four of Working Together to Safeguard Children. Examples of poor practice  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; 
  • failing to re-assess concerns when situations do not improve; 
  • not sharing information with the right people within and between agencies;
  • sharing information too slowly; and 
  • a lack of challenge to those who appear not to be taking action.

 

18An analysis of serious case reviews can be found at gov.uk/government/publications/analysis-of-serious-case reviews-2014-to-2017.

 

What school and college staff should do if they have safeguarding  concerns about another staff member 

 

74. Schools and colleges should have processes and procedures in place to manage  any safeguarding concerns about staff members (including supply staff, volunteers, and  contractors). If staff have safeguarding concerns or an allegation is made about another  member of staff (including supply staff, volunteers, and contractors) posing a risk of  

harm to children, then: 

 

  • this should be referred to the headteacher or principal; 
  • where there are concerns/allegations about the headteacher or principal, this  should be referred to the chair of governors, chair of the management committee  or proprietor of an independent school; and 
  • in the event of concerns/allegations about the headteacher, where the  headteacher is also the sole proprietor of an independent school, or a situation  where there is a conflict of interest in reporting the matter to the headteacher, this  should be reported directly to the local authority designated officer(s) (LADOs).  Details of your local LADO should be easily accessible on your local authority’s website. 

 

Further details can be found in Part four of this guidance. 

 

What school or college staff should do if they have concerns  about safeguarding practices within the school or college 

 

75. All staff and volunteers should feel able to raise concerns about poor or unsafe  practice and potential failures in the school’s or college’s safeguarding regime and know  that such concerns will be taken seriously by the senior leadership team. 

 

76. Appropriate whistleblowing procedures should be put in place for such concerns  to be raised with the school’s or college’s senior leadership team. 

 

77. Where a staff member feels unable to raise an issue with their employer, or feels  that their genuine concerns are not being addressed, other whistleblowing channels are  open to them:

 

  • general guidance on whistleblowing can be found via: Advice on Whistleblowing 
  • the NSPCC’s what you can do to report abuse dedicated helpline is available as  an alternative route for staff who do not feel able to raise concerns regarding child  protection failures internally, or have concerns about the way a concern is being  handled by their school or college. Staff can call 0800 028 0285 – line is available  from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM, Monday to Friday and email: help@nspcc.org.uk.19 

 

19 Alternatively, staff can write to: National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC),  Weston House, 42 Curtain, Road, London EC2A 3NH.

 

Actions where there are concerns about a child

 

 

1 In cases which also involve a concern or an allegation of abuse against a staff member, see Part Four of this  guidance. 

2 Early help means providing support as soon as a problem emerges at any point in a child’s life. Where a child would  benefit from co-ordinated early help, an early help inter-agency assessment should be arranged. Chapter one of  Working Together to Safeguard Children provides detailed guidance on the early help process. 

3 Referrals should follow the process set out in the local threshold document and local protocol for assessment.  Chapter one of Working Together to Safeguard Children

4 Under the Children Act 1989, local authorities are required to provide services for children in need for the purposes of  safeguarding and promoting their welfare. Children in need may be assessed under section 17 of the Children Act  1989. Under section 47 of the Children Act 1989, where a local authority has reasonable cause to suspect that a child  is suffering or likely to suffer significant harm, it has a duty to make enquiries to decide whether to take action to  safeguard or promote the child’s welfare. Full details are in Chapter one of Working Together to Safeguard Children. 5 This could include applying for an Emergency Protection Order (EPO).

 

 

Part two: The management of safeguarding 

 

The responsibility of governing bodies, proprietors and  management committees 

Legislation and the law 

 

78. Governing bodies and proprietors20 have a strategic leadership responsibility for  their school’s or college’s safeguarding arrangements and must ensure that they  comply with their duties under legislation. They must have regard to this guidance,  ensuring policies, procedures and training in their schools or colleges are effective and  comply with the law at all times.21 

 

79. Where a school or college has charitable status, Charity Commission guidance on charity and trustee duties to safeguard children is available at GOV.UK. 

 

80. Governing bodies and proprietors should have a senior board level (or  equivalent) lead to take leadership responsibility for their school’s or college’s  safeguarding arrangements.22 

 

20 In the case of academies, free schools and alternative provision academies the proprietor will be the  academy trust. 

21 Section 175 of the Education Act 2002 requires governing bodies of maintained schools and colleges, in relation to  their functions relating to the conduct of the school or the institution to make arrangements for ensuring that such  functions are exercised with a view to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children who are either pupils at the  school or are receiving education or training at the institution. The Education (Independent School Standards)  Regulations 2014 apply a duty to proprietors of independent schools (which in the case of academies and free schools is the academy trust) to ensure that arrangements are made to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. The  Non-Maintained Special Schools (England) Regulations 2015 oblige non-maintained special schools to comply with  certain requirements as a condition of their approval and whilst approved by the Secretary of State. One condition of  approval is that the proprietor must make arrangements for safeguarding and promoting the health, safety and welfare  of pupils, which have regard to any guidance including where appropriate, the National Minimum Standards, about  safeguarding and promoting the health, safety and welfare of pupils and, in the case of schools already approved, that  these arrangements at the school with respect to these matters are in accordance with the approval given by the  Secretary of State. For colleges, non-maintained special schools and independent schools: the definition of ‘children’  applies to the statutory responsibilities for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children i.e. those under 18. 22 Chapter 2 of Working Together to Safeguard Children.

 

81. Headteachers and principals should ensure that the policies and procedures,  adopted by their governing bodies and proprietors, (particularly those concerning  referrals of cases of suspected abuse and neglect), are understood, and followed by all  staff. 

 

Whole school and college approach to safeguarding

 

82. Governing bodies and proprietors should ensure they facilitate a whole school or  college approach to safeguarding. This means ensuring safeguarding and child protection are at the forefront and underpin all relevant aspects of process and policy  development. Ultimately, all systems, processes and policies should operate with the  best interests of the child at their heart. 

 

83. Where there is a safeguarding concern, governing bodies, proprietors and school  or college leaders should ensure the child’s wishes and feelings are taken into account  when determining what action to take and what services to provide. Systems should be  in place, and they should be well promoted, easily understood and easily accessible for  children to confidently report abuse, knowing their concerns will be treated seriously,  and knowing they can safely express their views and give feedback. 

 

Safeguarding policies and procedures 

 

84. Governing bodies and proprietors should ensure there are appropriate policies  and procedures in place in order for appropriate action to be taken in a timely manner to  safeguard and promote children’s welfare. 

 

85. These policies should include individual schools and colleges having: 

 

*an effective child protection policy which: 

  • reflects the whole school/college approach to peer on peer abuse (see para  145);  
  • reflects reporting systems as set out at paragraph 83;  
  • should describe procedures which are in accordance with government  guidance; 
  • refers to locally agreed multi-agency safeguarding arrangements put in  place by the safeguarding partners; 
  • includes policies as reflected elsewhere in Part two of this guidance, such  as online safety (see paragraph 126), and special educational needs and  disabilities (SEND) (see paragraphs 185-187);  
  • where appropriate, reflects serious violence. Further advice for schools and  colleges is provided in the Home Office’s Preventing youth violence and  gang involvement and its Criminal exploitation of children and vulnerable  adults: county lines guidance;  
  • should be reviewed annually (as a minimum) and updated if needed, so  that it is kept up to date with safeguarding issues as they emerge and  evolve, including lessons learnt; and 
  • is available publicly either via the school or college website or by other  means.

 

* a behaviour policy23, which includes measures to prevent bullying (including  cyberbullying, prejudice-based and discriminatory bullying)  

*a staff behaviour policy (sometimes called the code of conduct) which should,  amongst other things, include: acceptable use of technologies (including the use  of mobile devices), staff/pupil relationships and communications including the use  of social media.24 

*appropriate safeguarding arrangements in place to respond to children who go  missing from education, particularly on repeat occasions (more information at  paragraph 164). 

 

86. The above is not intended to be an exhaustive list. These policies and  procedures, along with Part one (or Annex A if appropriate) of this guidance and  information regarding the role and identity of the designated safeguarding lead (and  deputies), should be provided to all staff on induction. 

 

87. Governing bodies and proprietors should take a proportionate risk-based  approach to the level of information that is provided to temporary staff and volunteers. 

 

88. In addition, governing bodies and proprietors should ensure: 

  • child protection files are maintained as set out in Annex C; 
  • appropriate safer recruitment policies in accordance with Part three of this  guidance are in place; and 
  • where reasonably possible, schools and colleges hold more than one  emergency contact number for each pupil or student. This goes beyond the  legal minimum.25 It is good practice to give the school or college additional options  to make contact with a responsible adult when a child missing education is also  identified as a welfare and/or safeguarding concern. Further information for  schools can be found in the department’s School Attendance Guidance.  

 

 

23 All schools are required to have a behaviour policy (full details are here). If a college chooses to have a  behaviour policy it should be provided to staff as described above. 

24 When drafting the staff behaviour policy, schools and colleges should bear in mind the offence under  section 16 of The Sexual Offences Act 2003, which provides that it is an offence for a person aged 18 or  over (e.g. teacher, youth worker) to have a sexual relationship with a child under 18 where that person is in  a position of trust in respect of that child, even if the relationship is consensual. A situation where a person  is in a position of trust could arise where the child is in full-time education and the person looks after  children under 18 in the same establishment as the child, even if s/he does not teach the child. 25 See The Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006, available at legislation.gov.uk.

 

The designated safeguarding lead 

 

89. Governing bodies and proprietors should ensure an appropriate senior member of staff, from the school or college leadership team, is appointed to the role of  designated safeguarding lead. The designated safeguarding lead should take lead  responsibility for safeguarding and child protection (including online safety). This  should be explicit in the role-holder’s job description (see Annex C, which describes the  broad areas of responsibility and activities related to the role). 

 

90. It is for individual schools and colleges to decide whether they choose to have  one or more deputy designated safeguarding leads. Any deputy (or deputies) should be  trained to the same standard as the designated safeguarding lead. 

 

91. Whilst the activities of the designated safeguarding lead can be delegated to  appropriately trained deputies, the ultimate lead responsibility for safeguarding and  child protection, as set out above, remains with the designated safeguarding lead. This  responsibility should not be delegated. 

 

92. The designated safeguarding lead and any deputies should liaise with the  safeguarding partners, and work with other agencies in line with Working Together to  Safeguard Children. NPCC - When to call the police will help designated safeguarding  leads understand when they should consider calling the police and what to expect when  they do. 

 

93. During term time, the designated safeguarding lead and/or a deputy should  always be available (during school or college hours) for staff in the school or college to  discuss any safeguarding concerns. It is a matter for individual schools and colleges  and the designated safeguarding lead to arrange adequate and appropriate cover  arrangements for any out of hours/out of term activities. 

 

94. The designated safeguarding lead and any deputies should undergo training to  provide them with the knowledge and skills required to carry out the role. The training  should be updated every two years. 

 

95. In addition to their formal training as set out above, their knowledge and skills  should be updated (for example via e-bulletins, meeting other designated safeguarding  leads, or taking time to read and digest safeguarding developments), at regular  intervals, and at least annually, to keep up with any developments relevant to their role. 

 

Multi-agency working 

 

96. Schools and colleges have a pivotal role to play in multi-agency safeguarding  arrangements. Governing bodies and proprietors should ensure that the school or  college contributes to multi-agency working in line with statutory guidance Working  Together to Safeguard Children.

 

97. Safeguarding partners (the local authority; a clinical commissioning group for an  area within the local authority; and the chief officer of police for an area any part of  which falls within the local authority area) will make arrangements to work together with  appropriate relevant agencies to safeguard and promote the welfare of local children,  including identifying and responding to their needs. 

 

98. It is especially important that schools and colleges understand their role within  the local safeguarding arrangements. Governing bodies, proprietors, and their senior  leadership teams, especially their designated safeguarding leads, should make  themselves aware of and follow their local arrangements. 

 

99. Safeguarding partners have a shared and equal duty to work together to  safeguard and promote the welfare of children. To fulfil this role they must set out how  they will work together and with any relevant agencies.26 Relevant agencies are those  organisations and agencies whose involvement the safeguarding partners consider may  be required to safeguard and promote the welfare of children with regard to local need.  Safeguarding partners will have set out in their published arrangements which  organisations and agencies they will be working with, and the expectations placed on  any agencies and organisations by the arrangements. 

 

100. Working Together is very clear that all schools (including those in multi-academy  trusts) and colleges in the local area should be fully engaged, involved, and included in  safeguarding arrangements. It is expected that, locally, the safeguarding partners will  name schools and colleges as relevant agencies and will reach their own conclusions  on the best way to achieve the active engagement with individual institutions in a  meaningful way. 

 

101. Once named as a relevant agency, schools, and colleges, in the same way as  other relevant agencies, are under a statutory duty to co-operate with the published  arrangements. They must act in accordance with the safeguarding arrangements. 

 

102. Governing bodies and proprietors should understand the local criteria for action27 and the local protocol for assessment28 and ensure they are reflected in their own policies and procedures. They should also be prepared to supply information as requested by the safeguarding partners.29

 

26 For the list of relevant agencies see The Child Safeguarding Practice Review and Relevant Agency  (England) Regulations 2018 available at legislation.gov.uk. Schools and colleges are included. 27 The safeguarding partners should publish a document which sets out the local criteria for action in a way  that is transparent, accessible and easily understood. This should include: the process for the early help  assessment and the type and level of early help services to be provided; the criteria, included level of need,  for when a case should be referred to local authority children’s social care for assessment and for statutory  services under section 17, 20, 31 and 47 of the Children Act 1989; and clear procedures and processes for  cases relating to the exploitation of children, children managed within the youth secure estate and disabled  children. 

28 The local authority, with their partners should develop and publish local protocols for assessment.  Protocols should set out clear arrangements for how cases will be managed once a referral is made to  children’s social care.

29 More details on information requests by the safeguarding partners is provided in Part 3 of Working  Together to Safeguard Children.

 

103. Schools and colleges should work with social care, the police, health services  and other services to promote the welfare of children and protect them from harm. This  includes providing a coordinated offer of early help when additional needs of children  are identified and contributing to inter-agency plans to provide additional support to  children subject to child protection plans. 

 

104. All schools and colleges should allow access for children’s social care from the  host local authority and, where appropriate, from a placing local authority, for that  authority to conduct, or to consider whether to conduct, a section 17 or a section 47  assessment. 

 

Information sharing 

 

105. Information sharing is vital in identifying and tackling all forms of abuse and  neglect, and in promoting children’s welfare, including their educational outcomes.  Schools and colleges have clear powers to share, hold and use information for these  purposes. 

 

106. As part of meeting a child’s needs, it is important for governing bodies and  proprietors to recognise the importance of information sharing between practitioners  and local agencies. This should include ensuring arrangements are in place that set out  clearly the processes and principles for sharing information within the school or college  and with children’s social care, the safeguarding partners, other organisations,  agencies, and practitioners as required. 

 

107. School and college staff should be proactive in sharing information as early as  possible to help identify, assess, and respond to risks or concerns about the safety and  welfare of children, whether this is when problems are first emerging, or where a child is  already known to the local authority children’s social care. 

 

108. It is important that governing bodies and proprietors are aware that among other  obligations, the Data Protection Act 2018, and the UK General Data Protection  Regulation (UK GDPR) place duties on organisations and individuals to process  personal information fairly and lawfully and to keep the information they hold safe and  secure. 

 

109. Governing bodies and proprietors should ensure relevant staff have due regard  to the relevant data protection principles, which allow them to share (and withhold) personal information, as provided for in the Data Protection Act 2018 and the UK  GDPR. This includes: 

 

  • being confident of the processing conditions which allow them to store and share  information for safeguarding purposes, including information, which is sensitive  and personal, and should be treated as ‘special category personal data’.
  • understanding that ‘safeguarding of children and individuals at risk’ is a processing  condition that allows practitioners to share special category personal data. This  includes allowing practitioners to share information without consent where there is  good reason to do so, and that the sharing of information will enhance the  safeguarding of a child in a timely manner, but it is not possible to gain consent, it  cannot be reasonably expected that a practitioner gains consent, or if to gain  consent would place a child at risk. 
  • for schools, not providing pupils’ personal data where the serious harm test under  the legislation is met.30 For example, in a situation where a child is in a refuge or  another form of emergency accommodation, and the serious harms test is met,  they must withhold providing the data in compliance with schools’ obligations  under the Data Protection Act 2018 and the UK GDPR. Where in doubt schools  should seek independent legal advice.

 

30 The harm test is explained on the Disclosure and Barring service website on GOV.UK. Section 31(9) of  the Children Act 1989 as amended by the Adoption and Children Act 2002, available at legislation.gov.uk


110. The Data Protection Act 2018 and UK GDPR do not prevent the sharing of  information for the purposes of keeping children safe. Fears about sharing  information must not be allowed to stand in the way of the need to safeguard and  promote the welfare and protect the safety of children.  

 

111. Further details on information sharing can be found: 

 

  • in Chapter one of Working Together to Safeguard Children, which includes a  myth-busting guide to information sharing 
  • at Information Sharing: Advice for Practitioners Providing Safeguarding Services  to Children, Young People, Parents and Carers. The seven golden rules for  sharing information will be especially useful 
  • at The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), which includes ICO UK GDPR  FAQs and guidance from the department 
  • in Data protection: toolkit for schools - Guidance to support schools with data  protection activity, including compliance with the UK GDPR.

 

30 The harm test is explained on the Disclosure and Barring service website on GOV.UK. Section 31(9) of  the Children Act 1989 as amended by the Adoption and Children Act 2002, available at legislation.gov.uk

 

 

112. Where children leave the school or college, the designated safeguarding lead  should ensure their child protection file is transferred to the new school or college as  soon as possible, to allow the new school or college to continue supporting children who  have had a social worker and been victims of abuse and have that support in place for  when the child arrives, also ensuring secure transit, and confirmation of receipt should  be obtained. For schools, this should be transferred separately from the main pupil file.  Receiving schools and colleges should ensure key staff such as designated  safeguarding leads and special educational needs co-ordinators (SENCOs) or the  named persons with oversight for SEN in a college, are aware as required. 

 

113. In addition to the child protection file, the designated safeguarding lead should  also consider if it would be appropriate to share any information with the new school or  college in advance of a child leaving. For example, information that would allow the new  school or college to continue supporting children who have had a social worker and  been victims of abuse, or those who are currently receiving support through the  ‘Channel’ programme and have that support in place for when the child arrives. More  information on the child protection file is in Annex C. 

 

Staff training

 

114. Governing bodies and proprietors should ensure that all staff undergo  safeguarding and child protection training (including online safety) at induction. The  training should be regularly updated. Induction and training should be in line with any  advice from the safeguarding partners. 

 

115. In addition, all staff should receive regular safeguarding and child protection  updates, including online safety (for example, via email, e-bulletins, staff meetings) as  required, and at least annually, to provide them with relevant skills and knowledge to  safeguard children effectively. 

 

116. Governing bodies and proprietors should recognise the expertise staff build by  undertaking safeguarding training and managing safeguarding concerns on a daily  basis. Opportunity should therefore be provided for staff to contribute to and shape  safeguarding arrangements and the child protection policy. 

 

117. Governing bodies and proprietors should ensure that, as part of the requirement  for staff to undergo regular updated safeguarding training, including online safety  (paragraph 114) and the requirement to ensure children are taught about safeguarding,  including online safety (paragraph 119), that safeguarding training for staff, including  online safety training, is integrated, aligned and considered as part of the whole school  or college safeguarding approach and wider staff training and curriculum planning. 

 

118. Whilst considering the above training requirements, governing bodies and  proprietors should have regard to the Teachers’ Standards31 which set out the  expectation that all teachers manage behaviour effectively to ensure a good and safe  educational environment and requires teachers to have a clear understanding of the  needs of all pupils.  

 

Opportunities to teach safeguarding 

 

119. Governing bodies and proprietors should ensure that children are taught about  safeguarding, including online safety, and recognise that a one size fits all approach  may not be appropriate for all children, and a more personalised or contextualised approach for more vulnerable children, victims of abuse and some SEND children might  be needed.  

 

120. Schools should consider all of this as part of providing a broad and balanced  curriculum (colleges may cover relevant issues through tutorials). This may include  covering relevant issues for schools through Relationships Education (for all primary  pupils) and Relationships and Sex Education (for all secondary pupils) and Health  Education (for all pupils in state-funded schools). The statutory guidance can be found  here: Statutory guidance: relationships education relationships and sex education (RSE)  and health education.  

 

121. The Department has produced a one-stop page for teachers on GOV.UK, which  can be accessed here: Teaching about relationships sex and health. This includes  teacher training modules on the RSHE topics and non-statutory implementation  guidance. The following resources may also help schools and colleges understand and  teach about safeguarding: 

 

  • DfE advice for schools: teaching online safety in schools; 
  • UK Council for Internet Safety (UKCIS)32 guidance: Education for a connected  world; 
  • UKCIS guidance: Sharing nudes and semi-nudes: advice for education settings  working with children and young people
  • The UKCIS external visitors guidance will help schools and colleges to ensure the  maximum impact of any online safety sessions delivered by external visitors;  
  • National Crime Agency's CEOP education programme: Thinkuknow; 
  • Public Health England: Rise Above

 

 

31 Teacher standards. 

32 UK Council for Internet Safety Education subgroup is made up of sector experts who collaborate to  produce advice and guidance to support schools and colleges keep their children safe online.

 

122. Whilst it is essential that governing bodies and proprietors ensure that  appropriate filters and monitoring systems are in place, they should be careful that “over  blocking” does not lead to unreasonable restrictions as to what children can be taught  with regard to online teaching and safeguarding.  

 

Online safety 

 

123. It is essential that children are safeguarded from potentially harmful and  inappropriate online material. An effective whole school and college approach to online  safety empowers a school or college to protect and educate pupils, students, and staff  in their use of technology and establishes mechanisms to identify, intervene in, and  escalate any concerns where appropriate. 

 

124. The breadth of issues classified within online safety is considerable, but can be  categorised into four areas of risk: 

content: being exposed to illegal, inappropriate or harmful content, for example:  pornography, fake news, racism, misogyny, self-harm, suicide, anti-Semitism,  radicalisation and extremism.  

contact: being subjected to harmful online interaction with other users; for  example: peer to peer pressure, commercial advertising and adults posing as  children or young adults with the intention to groom or exploit them for sexual, criminal, financial or other purposes’.  

conduct: personal online behaviour that increases the likelihood of, or causes,  harm; for example, making, sending and receiving explicit images (e.g consensual  and non-consensual sharing of nudes and semi-nudes and/or pornography,  sharing other explicit images and online bullying; and 

commerce - risks such as online gambling, inappropriate advertising, phishing and or financial scams. If you feel your pupils, students or staff are at risk, please  report it to the Anti-Phishing Working Group (https://apwg.org/). 

 

125. Schools and colleges should ensure online safety is a running and interrelated  theme whilst devising and implementing policies and procedures. This will include  considering how online safety is reflected as required in all relevant policies and  considering online safety whilst planning the curriculum, any teacher training, the role  and responsibilities of the designated safeguarding lead and any parental engagement. 

 

Online safety policy 

 

126. Online safety and the school or college’s approach to it should be reflected in the  child protection policy. Considering the 4Cs (above) will provide the basis of an effective  online policy. The school or college should have a clear policy on the use of mobile and smart technology. Amongst other things this will reflect the fact many children have  unlimited and unrestricted access to the internet via mobile phone networks (i.e. 3G, 4G  and 5G). This access means some children, whilst at school or college, sexually harass  their peers via their mobile and smart technology, share indecent images: consensually and non-consensually (often via large chat groups), and view and share pornography and other harmful content. Schools and colleges should carefully consider how this is  managed on their premises and reflect in their mobile and smart technology policy and  their child protection policy.  

 

Remote learning  

 

127. Where children are being asked to learn online at home the Department has  provided advice to support schools and colleges do so safely: safeguarding in schools  colleges and other providers and safeguarding and remote education. The NSPCC and  PSHE Association also provide helpful advice: 

 

NSPCC Learning - Undertaking remote teaching safely during school closures PSHE - PSHE Association coronavirus hub 

 

Filters and monitoring 

 

128. Whilst considering their responsibility to safeguard and promote the welfare of  children and provide them with a safe environment in which to learn, governing bodies  and proprietors should be doing all that they reasonably can to limit children’s exposure  to the above risks from the school’s or college’s IT system. As part of this process,  governing bodies and proprietors should ensure their school or college has appropriate  filters and monitoring systems in place. Governing bodies and proprietors should  consider the age range of their children, the number of children, how often they access  the IT system and the proportionality of costs vs risks. 

 

129. The appropriateness of any filters and monitoring systems are a matter for  individual schools and colleges and will be informed in part, by the risk assessment  required by the Prevent Duty. 33 The UK Safer Internet Centre has published guidance  as to what “appropriate” filtering and monitoring might look like: UK Safer Internet  Centre: appropriate filtering and monitoring. 

 

130. Support for schools when considering what to buy and how to buy it is available  via the: schools' buying strategy with specific advice on procurement here: buying for  schools.  

 

33 The Prevent duty Departmental advice for schools and childcare providers and Prevent Duty Guidance For Further  Education Institutions.

 

Information security and access management 

 

131. Education settings are directly responsible for ensuring they have the appropriate  level of security protection procedures in place, in order to safeguard their systems, staff  and learners and review the effectiveness of these procedures periodically to keep up  with evolving cyber-crime technologies. Guidance on e-security is available from the  National Education Network. In addition, broader guidance on cyber security including  considerations for governors and trustees can be found at NCSC.GOV.UK.  

 

Reviewing online safety 

 

132. Technology, and risks and harms related to it evolve and changes rapidly.  Schools and colleges should consider carrying out an annual review of their approach to  online safety, supported by an annual risk assessment that considers and reflects the  risks their children face. A free online safety self-review tool for schools can be found  via the 360 safe website.  

 

133. UKCIS has published Online safety in schools and colleges: Questions from the  governing board. The questions can be used to gain a basic understanding of the  current approach to keeping children safe online; learn how to improve this approach  where appropriate; and find out about tools which can be used to improve the approach. It has also published an Online Safety Audit Tool which helps mentors of trainee  teachers and newly qualified teachers induct mentees and provide ongoing support,  development and monitoring. 

 

134. When reviewing online safety provision, the UKCIS external visitors guidance highlights a range of resources which can support educational settings to develop a  whole school approach towards online safety.  

 

Information and support 

 

135. There is a wealth of additional information available to support schools, colleges  and parents to keep children safe online. A sample is provided at Annex D. 

 

Inspection 

 

136. Since September 2019, Ofsted’s inspections of early years, schools and post-16  provision are carried out under: Ofsted's Education Inspection Framework. Inspectors  will always report on whether or not arrangements for safeguarding children and  learners are effective. 

 

137. In addition to the framework and inspections handbooks, Ofsted publishes  specific guidance to inspectors on inspecting safeguarding: Inspecting safeguarding in  early years, education and skills settings.

 

138. The Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) is approved to inspect certain  independent schools and will also report on safeguarding arrangements. ISI has a  published framework which informs how it inspects at Independent Schools  Inspectorate.  

 

What school and college staff should do if they have a safeguarding  concern or an allegation is made about another staff member 

 

139. Governing bodies and proprietors should ensure there are procedures in place  (as described in paragraph 74) to manage safeguarding concerns, or allegations  against staff (including supply staff and volunteers and contractors). 

 

140. Concerns and allegations that may meet the harms test should be addressed as  set out in Section one of Part four of this guidance. 

 

141. ‘Lower level’ concerns and allegations that do not meet the harms test should be  addressed as set out in Section two of Part four of this guidance. 

 

142. There must be procedures in place to make a referral to the Disclosure and  Barring Service (DBS) if a person in regulated activity has been dismissed or removed  due to safeguarding concerns or would have been had they not resigned.34 This is a  legal duty and failure to refer when the criteria are met is a criminal offence.35 More detail is provided at paragraph 329.

  

143. Where a teacher’s employer, including an agency, dismisses or ceases to use  the services of a teacher because of serious misconduct, or might have dismissed them  or ceased to use their services had they not left first, they must consider whether to  refer the case to the Secretary of State (via the Teaching Regulation Agency). Details  about how to make a referral to the Teaching Regulation Agency can be found on  GOV.UK.  

 

34 Section 35 of the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006. 

35 Section 38 of the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006.

 

Peer on peer /child on child abuse 

 

144. All staff should recognise that children are capable of abusing their peers (including online). All staff should be clear about their school’s or college’s policy and  procedures with regard to peer on peer abuse. 

 

145. Governing bodies and proprietors should ensure that their child protection policy  includes: 

  • procedures to minimise the risk of peer on peer abuse; 
  • the systems in place (and they should be well promoted, easily understood and  easily accessible) for children to confidently report abuse, knowing their concerns  will be treated seriously;  
  • how allegations of peer on peer abuse will be recorded, investigated and dealt  with; 
  • clear processes as to how victims, perpetrators and any other children affected by  peer on peer abuse will be supported; 
  • a recognition that even if there are no reported cases of peer on peer abuse, such  abuse may still be taking place and is simply not being reported;  
  • a statement which makes clear there should be a zero-tolerance approach to  abuse, and it should never be passed off as “banter”, “just having a laugh”, “part of  growing up” or “boys being boys” as this can lead to a culture of unacceptable  behaviours and an unsafe environment for children;  
  • recognition that it is more likely that girls will be victims and boys’ perpetrators, but  that all peer on peer abuse is unacceptable and will be taken seriously; and 
  • the different forms peer on peer abuse can take, such as: 

o bullying (including cyberbullying, prejudice-based and discriminatory  bullying); 

o abuse in intimate personal relationships between peers; 

o physical abuse which can include hitting, kicking, shaking, biting, hair  pulling, or otherwise causing physical harm; 

o sexual violence and sexual harassment. Part five of this guidance and  Sexual violence and sexual harassment between children in schools and  colleges sets out how schools and colleges should respond to reports of  sexual violence and sexual harassment; 

      o Consensual and non-consensual sharing of nudes and semi-nude images  and/or videos36 (also known as sexting                    or youth produced sexual imagery):  the policy should include the school or college’s approach to it. The                                    Department provides Searching Screening and Confiscation Advice for  schools. The UKCIS Education Group has                   published Sharing nudes and  semi-nudes: advice for education settings working with children and young people                       which outlines how to respond to an incident of nudes and semi nudes being shared;  

o causing someone to engage in sexual activity without consent, such as  forcing someone to strip, touch themselves sexually, or to engage in sexual  activity with a third party;  

o upskirting (which is a criminal offence37), which typically involves taking a  picture under a person’s clothing without their permission, with the intention  of viewing their genitals or buttocks to obtain sexual gratification, or cause  the victim humiliation, distress, or alarm; and 

       o initiation/hazing type violence and rituals.

 

36 Consensual image sharing, especially between older children of the same age, may require a different  response. It might not be abusive – but children still need to know it is illegal- whilst non-consensual is  illegal and abusive. UKCIS provides detailed advice about sharing of nudes and semi-nude images and  videos.

 

Boarding schools, residential special schools, residential colleges and  children’s homes 

 

146. Boarding schools, residential special schools, residential colleges and children’s  homes have additional factors to consider with regard to safeguarding. Schools and  colleges that provide such residential accommodation and/or are registered as  children’s homes should be alert to signs of abuse in such settings (for example,  inappropriate pupil or student relationships and the potential for peer on peer abuse,  particularly in schools and colleges where there are significantly more girls than boys or  vice versa) and work closely with the host local authority and, where relevant, any local  authorities that have placed their children there. 

 

147. Boarding schools, residential special schools, residential colleges, and children’s  homes have additional requirements in regard to safeguarding. These relate to National  Minimum Standards and regulations for the relevant setting and all schools and colleges with residential provision for children must comply with their obligations relating to  them. 

 

148. The relevant standards and guidance for each sector are on GOV.UK and the  relevant links are listed below: 

The National Minimum Standards for Boarding Schools 

The National Minimum Standards for Residential Special Schools Further Education residential accommodation: National Minimum Standards Guide to the Children's Homes Regulations

 

37 Voyeurism (Offences) Act 2019 (legislation.gov.uk)

 

149. In addition, the Visits to Children in Long-Term Residential Care Regulations  201138 apply to children living away from home in residential settings for periods of  three months or more (including those placed in residential schools and colleges). An  appropriate representative from the accommodating local authority must visit these  settings to ensure the welfare of these children. 

 

The use of ‘reasonable force’ in schools and colleges 

 

150. There are circumstances when it is appropriate for staff in schools and colleges  to use reasonable force to safeguard children. The term ‘reasonable force’ covers the  broad range of actions used by staff that involve a degree of physical contact to control  or restrain children. This can range from guiding a child to safety by the arm, to more  extreme circumstances such as breaking up a fight or where a child needs to be  restrained to prevent violence or injury. ‘Reasonable’ in these circumstances means  ‘using no more force than is needed’. The use of force may involve either passive  physical contact, such as standing between pupils or blocking a pupil’s path, or active  physical contact such as leading a pupil by the arm out of the classroom. 

 

151. The Department believes that the adoption of a ‘no contact’ policy at a school or  college can leave staff unable to fully support and protect their pupils and students. It  encourages headteachers, principals, governing bodies, and proprietors to adopt  sensible policies, which allow and support their staff to make appropriate physical  contact. The decision on whether or not to use reasonable force to control or restrain a  child is down to the professional judgement of the staff concerned within the context of  the law and should always depend on individual circumstances. 

 

152. When using reasonable force in response to risks presented by incidents  involving children with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND), mental health  or with medical conditions, schools and colleges should in considering the risks carefully  recognise the additional vulnerability of these groups. They should also consider their  duties under the Equality Act 201039 in relation to making reasonable adjustments, non discrimination and their Public Sector Equality Duty.40 By planning positive and  proactive behaviour support, for instance through drawing up individual behaviour plans  for more vulnerable children, and agreeing them with parents and carers, schools and  colleges can reduce the occurrence of challenging behaviour and the need to use  reasonable force. 

 

38 www.legislation.gov.uk 

39 Advice for Schools and Advice for Further and Higher Education. 

40 Compliance with the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) is a legal requirement for schools and colleges  that are public bodies. The Equality and Human Rights Commission provides the following general  guidance for schools that are subject to the PSED

 

153. Departmental advice for schools is available at Use of Reasonable Force in  Schools.  

 

154. For information about how to support children with learning disabilities, autistic  spectrum conditions and mental health difficulties who are at risk of restrictive  intervention can be found at Reducing the need for restraint and restrictive intervention

 

Use of school or college premises for non-school/college activities 

 

155. Where governing bodies or proprietors hire or rent out school or college  facilities/premises to organisations or individuals (for example to community groups,  sports associations, and service providers to run community or extra-curricular  activities) they should ensure that appropriate arrangements are in place to keep  children safe. 

 

156. When services or activities are provided by the governing body or proprietor,  under the direct supervision or management of their school or college staff, their  arrangements for child protection will apply. However, where services or activities are  provided separately by another body this is not necessarily the case. The governing  body or proprietor should therefore seek assurance that the body concerned has  appropriate safeguarding and child protection policies and procedures in place  (including inspecting these as needed); and ensure that there are arrangements in  place to liaise with the school or college on these matters where appropriate. The  governing body or proprietor should also ensure safeguarding requirements are  included in any transfer of control agreement (i.e. lease or hire agreement), as a  condition of use and occupation of the premises; and that failure to comply with this  would lead to termination of the agreement. 

 

Alternative provision 

 

157. The cohort of pupils in Alternative Provision often have complex needs, it is  important that governing bodies and proprietors of these settings are aware of the  additional risk of harm that their pupils may be vulnerable to. 

 

158. The Department has issued two pieces of statutory guidance to which  commissioners of Alternative Provision should have regard: 

Alternative provision - DfE Statutory Guidance; and 

Education for children with health needs who cannot attend school - DfE Statutory  Guidance

 

Children potentially at greater risk of harm 

 

159. Whilst all children should be protected, it is important that governing bodies and  proprietors recognise (and reflect in their policies and procedures) some groups of  children are potentially at greater risk of harm.  

 

Children who need a social worker (Child in Need and Child Protection Plans) 

 

160. Children may need a social worker due to safeguarding or welfare needs.  Children may need this help due to abuse, neglect and complex family circumstances. A  child’s experiences of adversity and trauma can leave them vulnerable to further harm,  as well as educationally disadvantaged in facing barriers to attendance, learning, behaviour, and mental health. 

 

161. Local authorities should share the fact a child has a social worker, and the  designated safeguarding lead should hold and use this information so that decisions  can be made in the best interests of the child’s safety, welfare, and educational  outcomes. This should be considered as a matter of routine. There are clear powers to  share this information under existing duties on both local authorities and schools and  colleges to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. 

 

162. Where children need a social worker, this should inform decisions about  safeguarding (for example, responding to unauthorised absence or missing education  where there are known safeguarding risks) and about promoting welfare (for example,  considering the provision of pastoral and/or academic support, alongside action by  statutory services). 

 

163. Findings from the Children in Need review, ‘Improving the educational outcomes  of Children in Need of help and protection’ contains further information; the conclusion  of the review, ‘Help, protection, education’ sets out action Government is taking to  support this. 

 

Children missing from education 

 

164. Children missing from education, particularly persistently, can act as a vital  warning sign to a range of safeguarding issues including neglect, sexual abuse, and  child sexual and criminal exploitation. It is important the school or college’s response to  children missing from education supports identifying such abuse and also helps prevent  the risk of them going missing in the future. This includes when problems are first  emerging but also where children are already known to local authority children’s social  care and need a social worker (such as on a child in need or child protection plan, or as  a looked after child), where going missing from education may increase known  safeguarding risks within the family or in the community. Further information and  support, includes:

schools’ duties regarding children missing education, including information schools  must provide to the local authority when removing a child from the school roll at  standard and non-standard transition points can be found in the Department’s  statutory guidance: Children Missing Education.  

further information for colleges providing education for a child of compulsory  school age can be found in: Full-time-Enrolment of 14 to 16 year olds in Further  Education and Sixth Form Colleges.  

general information and advice for schools and colleges can be found in the  Government’s Missing Children and Adults Strategy.  

 

Elective Home Education (EHE) 

 

165. Many home educated children have an overwhelmingly positive learning  experience. We would expect the parents’ decision to home educate to be made with  their child’s best education at the heart of the decision. However, this is not the case for  all, and home education can mean some children are less visible to the services that  are there to keep them safe and supported in line with their needs. 

 

166. From September 2016 the Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations  2006 were amended so that schools must inform their LA of all deletions from their  admission register when a child is taken off roll41.  

 

167. Where a parent/carer has expressed their intention to remove a child from school  with a view to educating at home, we recommend that LAs, schools, and other key  professionals work together to coordinate a meeting with parents/carers where possible.  Ideally, this would be before a final decision has been made, to ensure the  parents/carers have considered what is in the best interests of each child. This is  particularly important where a child has SEND, is vulnerable, and/or has a social  worker. 

 

168. DfE guidance for local authorities on Elective home education sets out the role  and responsibilities of LAs and their powers to engage with parents in relation to EHE.  Although this is primarily aimed at LAs, schools should also be familiar with this  guidance. 

 

Children requiring mental health support 

 

169. Schools and colleges have an important role to play in supporting the mental  health and wellbeing of their pupils. 

 

41 This requirement does not apply where a pupil’s name is deleted after they have completed the final year  at the school (e.g. Year 6 at a typical primary school) unless the local authority have asked to be informed  about such deletions. 

 

170. Mental health problems can, in some cases, be an indicator that a child has  suffered or is at risk of suffering abuse, neglect or exploitation. Governing bodies and  proprietors should ensure they have clear systems and processes in place for  identifying possible mental health problems, including routes to escalate and clear  referral and accountability systems. 

 

171. The Department is providing funding to support costs of a significant training  program for senior mental health leads and the national rollout of the Link Program.  Training for senior mental health leads, will be available to all state-funded schools and  colleges by 2025, to help introduce or develop their whole school or college approach to  mental health. 

 

172. The Department has published advice and guidance on Preventing and Tackling  Bullying, Mental Health and Behavior in Schools (which may also be useful for  colleges). The Mental Health and Behavior in Schools guidance sets out how schools  and colleges can help prevent mental health problems by promoting resilience as part of  an integrated, whole school/college approach to social and emotional wellbeing, which  is tailored to the needs of their pupils. 

 

173. The senior mental health lead role is not mandatory and different senior leads will  inevitably have different levels of knowledge and skills to promote wellbeing and mental  health, and different responsibilities, as roles are locally defined to fit in with other  relevant roles and responsibilities. However, we expect a senior mental health lead in a  school/college will be a member of, or supported by the senior leadership team, and  could be the pastoral lead, SENCO, or designated safeguarding lead. We are aware  most schools and colleges already have a senior mental health lead in place. 

 

174. From September 2021, up to 7,800 schools and colleges will be able to access  senior mental health leads training. Settings will have the opportunity to opt-in for a fixed  value grant and will be supported to identify the most appropriate learning from a list of  quality assured courses. Settings ready to develop or introduce their whole school or  college approach to mental health and wellbeing, with capacity to undertake training  before March 2022, will be encouraged to apply. Further information on how schools  and colleges can do this - and how they can identify and book the most appropriate  training for them - will be provided nearer the time. 

 

175. In addition, Public Health England has produced a range of resources to support  secondary schools to promote positive health, wellbeing and resilience among children  including its guidance Promoting children and young people’s emotional health and  wellbeing. Its resources include social media, forming positive relationships, smoking  and alcohol. See Rise Above for links to all materials and lesson plans. The Department  has also published, ‘Every interaction matters’, a pre-recorded webinar which provides  staff with a simple framework for promoting wellbeing, resilience, and mental health.  This sits alongside our Wellbeing for education recovery program content, which covers  issues such as bereavement, loss, anxiety, stress and trauma.

 

Looked after children and previously looked after children 

 

176. The most common reason for children becoming looked after42 is as a result of  abuse and/or neglect. Governing bodies and proprietors should ensure that staff have  the skills, knowledge and understanding to keep looked after children safe. 

 

177. In particular, they should ensure that appropriate staff have the information they  need in relation to a child’s looked after legal status (whether they are looked after  under voluntary arrangements with consent of parents, or on an interim or full care  order) and the child’s contact arrangements with birth parents or those with parental  responsibility. They should also have information about the child’s care arrangements  and the levels of authority delegated to the carer by the authority looking after him/her.  The designated safeguarding lead43 should have details of the child’s social worker and  the name of the virtual school head in the authority that looks after the child. 

 

178. A previously looked after child potentially remains vulnerable and all staff should  have the skills, knowledge and understanding to keep previously looked after children  safe. When dealing with looked after children and previously looked after children, it is  important that all agencies work together and prompt action is taken when necessary to  safeguard these children, who are a particularly vulnerable group.

 

The designated teacher 

 

179. Governing bodies of maintained schools and proprietors of academies must appoint a designated teacher44 and should work with local authorities to promote the  educational achievement of registered pupils who are looked after. With the  commencement of sections 4 to 6 of the Children and Social Work Act 2017, designated  teachers have responsibility for promoting the educational achievement of children who  have left care through adoption, special guardianship or child arrangement orders or  who were adopted from state care outside England and Wales.45 The designated  teacher must have appropriate training and the relevant qualifications and  experience.46 In other schools and colleges, an appropriately trained teacher should  take the lead. 

 

180. Statutory guidance contains further information on The Role and Responsibilities  of the Designated Teacher.  

 

 

42 A child who is looked after by a local authority (referred to as a looked-after-child) as defined in section  22 Children Act 1989, means a child who is subject to a care order (interim or full care order) or who is  voluntarily accommodated by the local authority. 

43 In maintained schools and academies the designated safeguarding lead should work closely with the  designated teacher. 

44 Section 20 of the Children and Young Persons Act 2008 sets this requirement for maintained schools.  This legislation and accompanying statutory guidance on the role of designated teacher applies to academies  through their funding agreements. 

45 For the purposes of the role of the virtual school head and designated teacher, under the Children and  Social Work Act 2017, previously looked-after children are those who: are no longer looked after by a local  authority in England and Wales (as defined by the Children Act 1989 or Part 6 of the Social Services and  Well-being (Wales) Act 2014) because they are the subject of an adoption, special guardianship or child  arrangements order; or were adopted from ‘state care’ outside England and Wales.

 

Virtual school heads 

 

181. Virtual school heads47 manage pupil premium plus for looked after children;48 they receive this funding based on the latest published number of children looked after  by the local authority. In maintained schools and academies, the designated teacher  should work with the virtual school head to discuss how funding can be best used to  support the progress of looked after children in the school and meet the needs identified  in the child’s personal education plan.49 The designated teacher should also work with  the virtual school head to promote the educational achievement of previously looked  after children. In other schools and colleges, an appropriately trained teacher should  take the lead. 

 

182. As with designated teachers, following the commencement of sections 4 to 6 of  the Children and Social Work Act 2017, virtual school heads have responsibilities  towards children who have left care through adoption, special guardianship, or child  arrangement orders or who were adopted from state care outside England or Wales.  Their primary role for this group will be the provision of information and advice to  relevant parties.50 

 

183. Statutory guidance on Promoting the Education of Looked After Children contains further information on the roles and responsibilities of virtual school heads. 

 

46 Section 20(3) of the Children and Young Persons Act 2008 and regulation 3 of the Designated Teacher  (Looked-After Pupils etc) (England) Regulations 2009. 

47 Section 22(3B) of the Children Act 1989 requires local authorities in England to appoint at least one  person for the purpose of discharging the local authority’s duty to promote the educational achievement of  its looked after children. That person (known as the virtual school head) must be an officer employed by the  authority or another local authority in England. 

48 Pupil premium plus for previously looked after children is managed by their school. 49 All looked after children must have a personal education plan (PEP). This is part of the care plan that the  local authority looking after the child must have in place and review regularly. 

50 Any person that has parental responsibility for the child; providers of funded early years education,  designated teachers for previously looked-after children in maintained schools and academies, and any  other person the authority considers appropriate for promoting the educational achievement of relevant  children.

 

Care leavers 

 

184. Local authorities have on-going responsibilities to the children who cease to be  looked after and become care leavers.51 That includes keeping in touch with them,  preparing an assessment of their needs and appointing a personal adviser who  develops a pathway plan with the young person. This plan describes how the local  authority will support the care leaver to participate in education or training. Designated  safeguarding leads should therefore have details of the local authority Personal Advisor  appointed to guide and support the care leaver and should liaise with them as  necessary regarding any issues of concern affecting the care leaver. 

 

Children with special educational needs and disabilities or physical health issues 

 

185. Children with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND) or certain health  conditions can face additional safeguarding challenges. Governing bodies and  proprietors should ensure their child protection policy reflects the fact that additional  barriers can exist when recognising abuse and neglect in this group of children. These  can include: 

assumptions that indicators of possible abuse such as behaviour, mood and injury  relate to the child’s condition without further exploration; 

these children being more prone to peer group isolation or bullying (including  prejudice-based bullying) than other children; 

the potential for children with SEND or certain medical conditions being  disproportionally impacted by behaviours such as bullying, without outwardly  showing any signs; and 

communication barriers and difficulties in managing or reporting these challenges. 

 

186. Governing bodies and proprietors, should, therefore ensure that their child  protection policy reflects the above and to address these additional challenges, schools  and colleges should consider extra pastoral support and attention for these children,  along with ensuring any appropriate support for communication is in place. 

 

187. Further information can be found in the Department’s: SEND Code of Practice 0  to 25 and Supporting Pupils at School with Medical Conditions.  

 

1 A care leaver who is 16 or 17 (referred to in legislation as a ‘relevant child’ is defined in section 23A(2) of  the Children Act 1989 as a child who is (a) not looked after (b) aged 16 or 17, and (c) was, before ceasing  to be looked after by a local authority, looked after for a period of 13 weeks, or periods amounting in total to  13 weeks, beginning after s/he reached the age of 14 and ended after s/he reached the age of 16.

 

Part three: Safer recruitment 

 

This part of the guidance has four sections providing schools and colleges with the legal  requirements ‘must do’, what they should do, what is considered best practice and  important information about: 

 

  1. the recruitment and selection process; 
  2. pre-appointment and vetting checks, regulated activity and recording of  information; 
  3. other checks that may be necessary for staff, volunteers and others, including the  responsibilities on schools and colleges for children in other settings; and
  4. how to ensure the ongoing safeguarding of children and the legal reporting duties  on employers. 

 

1 Recruitment and selection process 

 

188. This section focuses on ensuring potential applicants are given the right  messages about the school and college’s commitment to recruit suitable people. 

 

189. It is vital that governing bodies and proprietors create a culture that safeguards  and promotes the welfare of children in their school or college. As part of this culture, it  is important that they 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 schools and colleges. 

 

190. Governing bodies and proprietors should ensure that those involved with the  recruitment and employment of staff to work with children have received appropriate  safer recruitment training, the substance of which should at a minimum cover the  content of this part (Part three) of this guidance. 

 

191. The School Staffing (England) Regulations 2009 and the Education (Pupil  Referral Units) (Application of Enactments) (England) Regulations 2007 require  governing bodies of maintained schools and management committees of pupil referral 

units (PRUs) to ensure that at least one of the persons who conducts an interview has  completed safer recruitment training.52 Governing bodies of maintained schools and  management committees of PRUs may choose appropriate training and may take  advice from the safeguarding partners in doing so. 

 

52 http://www.legislation.gov.uk/. 

 

Advert 

 

192. Schools and colleges should think about including the following information when  defining the role (through the job or role description and person specification): 

 

the skills, abilities, experience, attitude, and behaviours required for the post; and 

the safeguarding requirements, i.e. to what extent will the role involve contact with  children and will they be engaging in regulated activity relevant to children. See  page 55 for further information about regulated activity. 

 

193. The advert should include: 

 

the school’s or college’s commitment to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of  children and make clear that safeguarding checks will be undertaken; 

the safeguarding responsibilities of the post as per the job description and  personal specification; and 

whether the post is exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 and the  amendments to the Exceptions Order 1975, 2013 and 2020. Which means that  when applying for certain jobs and activities certain spent convictions and cautions are ‘protected’, so they do not need to be disclosed to employers, and if they are  disclosed, employers cannot take them into account. Further information about  filtering offences can be found in the DBS filtering guide. 

 

Application forms  

 

194. Where a role involves engaging in regulated activity relevant to children, schools  and colleges should include a statement in the application form or elsewhere in the  information provided to applicants that it is an offence to apply for the role if the  applicant is barred from engaging in regulated activity relevant to children.53 

 

195. Schools and colleges should also provide a copy of the school’s or college’s child  protection policy and practices and policy on employment of ex-offenders in the  application pack or refer to a link on its website. 

 

196. Schools and colleges should require applicants to provide: 

 

  • personal details, current and former names, current address and national  insurance number; 
  • details of their present (or last) employment and reason for leaving;
  • full employment history, (since leaving school, including education, employment  and voluntary work) including reasons for any gaps in employment; 
  • qualifications, the awarding body and date of award; 
  • details of referees/references (see below for further information); and 
  • a statement of the personal qualities and experience that the applicant believes  are relevant to their suitability for the post advertised and how they meet the  person specification. 

 

53 Legislation.gov.uk - section 7(1)(a) of the SVGA 2006.

 

197. Schools and colleges should not accept copies of curriculum vitae in place of an  application form. 

 

Shortlisting  

 

198. Shortlisted candidates should be asked to complete a self-declaration of their  criminal record or information that would make them unsuitable to work with children.  Self-declaration is subject to Ministry of Justice guidance on the disclosure of criminal  records, further information can be found on GOV.UK 

 

For example: 

 

  • if they have a criminal history;  
  • whether they are included on the barred list;  
  • whether they are prohibited from teaching;  
  • whether they are prohibited from taking part in the management of an independent  school; 
  • information about any criminal offences committed in any country in line with the  law as applicable in England and Wales, not the law in their country of origin or where they were convicted; 
  • if they are known to the police and children’s social care;  
  • have they been disqualified from providing childcare (see paras 245-249); and, 
  • any relevant overseas information. 

 

199. This information should only be requested from applicants who have been  shortlisted. The information should not be requested in the application form to decide  who should be shortlisted. 

 

200. Applicants should be asked to sign a declaration confirming the information they  have provided is true. Where there is an electronic signature, the shortlisted candidate  should physically sign a hard copy of the application at point of interview.

 

201. The purpose of a self-declaration is so that candidates will have the opportunity  to share relevant information and allow this to be discussed and considered at interview  before the DBS certificate is received. 

 

202. Schools and colleges should: 

  • ensure that at least two people carry out the shortlisting exercise (it is  recommended that those who shortlist carry out the interview for a consistent  approach); 
  • consider any inconsistencies and look for gaps in employment and reasons given  for them; and,  
  • explore all potential concerns. 

 

Employment history and references 

 

203. The purpose of seeking references is to allow employers to obtain factual  information to support appointment decisions. Schools and colleges should obtain  references before interview, this allows any concerns raised to be explored further with  the referee and taken up with the candidate at interview. 

 

204. Schools and colleges should: 

  • not accept open references e.g. to whom it may concern; 
  • not rely on applicants to obtain their reference; 
  • ensure any references are from the candidate’s current employer and have been  completed by a senior person with appropriate authority (if the referee is school or  college based, the reference should be confirmed by the headteacher/principal as  accurate in respect to disciplinary investigations); 
  • obtain verification of the individual’s most recent relevant period of employment  where the applicant is not currently employed; 
  • secure a reference from the relevant employer from the last time the applicant  worked with children (if not currently working with children), if the applicant has  never worked with children, then ensure a reference from their current employer;  
  • always verify any information with the person who provided the reference; ensure electronic references originate from a legitimate source; 
  • contact referees to clarify content where information is vague or insufficient  information is provided; 
  • compare the information on the application form with that in the reference and take  up any discrepancies with the candidate;
  • establish the reason for the candidate leaving their current or most recent post; and, 
  • ensure any concerns are resolved satisfactorily before appointment is confirmed. 

 

205. When asked to provide references schools and colleges should ensure the  information confirms whether they are satisfied with the applicant’s suitability to work  with children and provide the facts (not opinions) of any substantiated safeguarding  allegations but should not include information about allegations which are  unsubstantiated, unfounded, false, or malicious. References are an important part of the  recruitment process and should be provided in a timely manner and not hold up  proceedings. 

 

Selection 

 

206. Schools and colleges should use a range of selection techniques to identify the  most suitable person for the post. Those interviewing should agree structured  questions. 

 

These should include: 

finding out what attracted the candidate to the post being applied for and their  motivation for working with children; 

exploring their skills and asking for examples of experience of working with  children which are relevant to the role; and 

probing any gaps in employment or where the candidate has changed employment or location frequently, asking about the reasons for this. 

 

207. The interviews should be used to explore potential areas of concern to determine  the applicant’s suitability to work with children. Areas that may be concerning and lead  to further probing include: 

implication that adults and children are equal; 

lack of recognition and/or understanding of the vulnerability of children; inappropriate idealisation of children; 

inadequate understanding of appropriate boundaries between adults and children;  and,  

indicators of negative safeguarding behaviours. 

 

208. Any information about past disciplinary action or allegations should be  considered in the circumstances of the individual case.

 

209. Pupils/students should be involved in the recruitment process in a meaningful  way. Observing short listed candidates and appropriately supervised interaction with  pupils/students is common and recognised as good practice. 

 

210. All information considered in decision making should be clearly recorded along  with decisions made. 

 

2 Pre-appointment vetting checks, regulated activity and  recording information 

 

211. This section provides the legal requirements that governing bodies and  proprietors need to understand (and which must54 be carried out) when appointing  individuals to engage in regulated activity relating to children. It covers the importance  of ensuring the correct pre-appointment checks are carried out. These checks will help  identify whether a person may be unsuitable to work with children (and in some cases is  legally prohibited from working with children and/or working as a teacher). They should  be seen as the part of a wider safeguarding regime which will carry on following  appointment. This section also explains what information schools and colleges must record on the single central record. 

 

54 16-19 Academies, Special Post-16 institutions and Independent Training Providers must carry out an enhanced DBS check (including with children’s barred list information, for those who will be engaging in  regulated activity with children), as required by their funding agreement. They should carry out other  checks, apart from the separate children’s barred list check which is not available to these providers.  Providers should not allow an individual to start work in regulated activity until they obtain an enhanced  DBS plus barred list check.

 

212. The Education and Training (Welfare of Children) Act 2021 extended  safeguarding provisions to providers of post 16 Education; 16-19 Academies, Special  Post-16 institutions and Independent Training Providers. Some safer recruitment regulations do not apply to these providers and as such some of the “musts” for  colleges do not apply to them. These checks are an essential part of safeguarding,  carried out to help employers check the suitability of candidates. Therefore, the  providers set out above should carry out these pre appointment checks. This has been  made clear via footnotes. 

 

213. All offers of appointment should be conditional until satisfactory completion of the  mandatory pre-employment checks. All Schools and colleges must:  

verify a candidate’s identity, it is important to be sure that the person is who they  claim to be, this includes being aware of the potential for individuals changing their  name. Best practice is checking the name on their birth certificate, where this is 

available. Further identification checking guidelines can be found on the GOV.UK website.  

obtain (via the applicant) an enhanced DBS check (including children’s barred list  information, for those who will be engaging in regulated activity with children). 55 Note that when using the DBS update service you still need to obtain the original  physical certificate (see para 232) ; 56 57 58 59 

obtain a separate children’s barred list check if an individual will start work in  regulated activity with children before the DBS certificate is available; See  paragraph 242 on how to obtain a separate barred list check. This does not apply  to 16-19 Academies, Special Post-16 institutions and Independent Training  Providers, see footnote.54 

verify the candidate’s mental and physical fitness to carry out their work  responsibilities.60 A job applicant can be asked relevant questions about disability  and health in order to establish whether they have the physical and mental  capacity for the specific role; 61 

verify the person’s right to work in the UK, including EU nationals. If there is  uncertainty about whether an individual needs permission to work in the UK, then  schools and colleges should follow advice on the GOV.UK website; 

if the person has lived or worked outside the UK, make any further checks the  school or college consider appropriate (see 262-267); and,  

verify professional qualifications, as appropriate. The Teaching Regulation  Agency’s (TRA) Employer Access Service should be used to verify any award of qualified teacher status (QTS), and the completion of teacher induction or  probation. 

In addition: 

independent schools, including academies and free schools, must check that a  person taking up a management position as described at paragraph 237 is not  subject to a section 128 direction made by the Secretary of State;  

all schools must ensure that an applicant to be employed to carry out teaching  work62 is not subject to a prohibition order issued by the Secretary of State (see  paragraph 234 for prohibition checks or any sanction or restriction imposed (that  remains current) by the GTCE (see paragraph 236), before its abolition in March  2012; 

before employing a person to carry out teaching work in relation to children,  colleges must63 take reasonable steps to establish whether that person is subject  to a prohibition order issued by the Secretary of State.  

all schools and colleges providing childcare64 must ensure that appropriate  checks are carried out to ensure that individuals employed to work in reception  classes, or in wraparound care for children up to the age of 8, are not disqualified  from working in these settings under the 2018 Childcare Disqualification  Regulations. Further details about the application of these arrangements are  provided at paragraphs 245-249. 

 

 

55 16-19 Academies, Special Post-16 institutions and Independent Training Providers must carry out a DBS  check with barred list information as per their funding agreement. 

56 Where the individual will be or is engaging in regulated activity, schools and colleges will need to ensure  that they confirm on the DBS application that they have the right to barred list information. 57 Regulations 12 and 24 of the School Staffing (England) Regulations 2009 for maintained schools also  apply to the management committee of pupil referral units through the Education (Pupil Referral Units)  (Application of Enactments) (England) Regulations 2007. Part 4 of the Schedule to The Education  (Independent School Standards) Regulations 2014 applies to independent schools, including free schools  and academies. The Schedule to the Non-Maintained Special Schools (England) Regulations 2015 applies  to non-maintained special schools. 

58 Regulation 5 of the Further Education (Providers of Education) (England) Regulations 2006 applies to  further education institutions. Further Education providers should also note Regulation 10 of the Further  Education (Providers of Education) (England) Regulations 2006, which requires that members of staff (other than agency staff) who move from positions not involving the provision of education into a position  involving the provision of education are to be treated as new staff members. 

59 See the status checking section of the DBS update service employer guide 

60 Education (Health Standards) (England) Regulations 2003 - see also fitness to teach circular. 61 See legislation.gov.uk Section 60 of the Equality Act 2010.

 

Applicant moving from previous post 

 

214. There is no requirement for a school to obtain an enhanced DBS certificate or  carry out checks for events that may have occurred outside the UK if, during a period  which ended not more than three months before the person’s appointment, the  applicant has worked, in a school in England, in a post: 

which brought the person regularly into contact with children; or 

to which the person was appointed on or after 12th May 2006 and which did not  bring the person regularly into contact with children or young persons; or 

in another institution within the further education sector in England, or in a 16-19  academy, in a post which involved the provision of education which brought the  person regularly into contact with children or young persons. 

 

215. For a college65 there is no requirement to obtain an enhanced DBS certificate or  carry out checks for events that may have occurred outside the UK if, during a period  which ended not more than three months before the person’s appointment, the  applicant has worked in: 

a school in England in a position which brought him or her regularly into contact  with children aged under 18; or 

another institution within the further education sector in England, or in a 16 to 19  academy, in a position which involved the provision of education and caring for,  training, supervising or being solely in charge of persons aged under 18. 

 

216. Whilst there is no requirement to carry out an enhanced DBS check in the  circumstances described above, schools or colleges may still choose to request one to  ensure they have up to date information. However, schools and colleges must still carry  out all other relevant pre-appointment checks (as listed at 213), including where the  individual is engaging in regulated activity with children, a children’s barred list check (see para 242 on how to carry out a barred list check).  

 

62 The Teachers’ Disciplinary (England) Regulations 2012 define teaching work as: planned and preparing  lessons and courses for pupils; delivering lessons to pupils; assessing the development, progress and  attainment of pupils; and reporting on the development, progress and attainment of pupils. 63 Where employing teachers 16-19 Academies, Special Post-16 institutions and Independent Training  Providers should contact employer.access.gov.uk to check that the individual is not prohibited from teaching.  64 Childcare Act 2006 (legislation.gov.uk) section 76(2).

65 This does not apply for 16-19 Academies, Special Post-16 institutions and Independent Training  Providers.

 

Regulated activity 

 

217. In summary, a person will be engaging in regulated activity with children if, as a  result of their work, they: 

will be responsible, on a regular basis in a school or college, for teaching, training  instructing, caring for or supervising children; 

will be working on a regular basis in a specified establishment, such as a school,  for or in connection with the purposes of the establishment, where the work gives  opportunity for contact with children; or 

engage in intimate or personal care or healthcare or any overnight activity, even if  this happens only once. 

 

Further details on regulated activity below.

 

Regulated activity 

 

The full legal definition of regulated activity is set out in Schedule 4 of the Safeguarding  Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 as amended by the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012.  HM Government has produced Factual note on regulated activity in relation to children:  scope.  

 

Regulated activity includes: 

a. teaching, training, instructing, caring for (see (c) below) or supervising children if  the person is unsupervised, or providing advice or guidance on physical,  emotional or educational well-being, or driving a vehicle only for children; 

b. work for a limited range of establishments (known as ‘specified places’, which  include schools and colleges), with the opportunity for contact with children, but  not including work done by supervised volunteers. 

 

Work under (a) or (b) is regulated activity only if done regularly.66 Some activities are  always regulated activities, regardless of frequency or whether they are supervised or  not. This includes: 

c. relevant personal care, or health care provided by or provided under the  supervision of a health care professional: 

o personal care includes helping a child with eating and drinking for  reasons of illness or disability or in connection with toileting, washing,  bathing and dressing for reasons of age, illness of disability;67 

o health care means care for children provided by, or under the direction or  supervision of, a regulated health care professional. 

 

Regulated activity will not be: 

paid work in specified places which is occasional and temporary and does not  involve teaching, training; and 

supervised activity which is paid in non-specified settings such as youth clubs,  sports clubs etc

 

66 The Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 provides that the type of work referred to at (a) or (b) will  be regulated activity if “it is carried out frequently by the same person” or if “the period condition is  satisfied”. Paragraph 10 of Schedule 4 to this Act says the period condition is satisfied if the person  carrying out the activity does so at any time on more than three days in any period of 30 days and, for the  purposes of the work referred to at (a), apart from driving vehicle only for children, it is also satisfied if it is done at any time between 2am and 6am and it gives the person the opportunity to have face to face  contact with children. 

67 It is not intended that personal care includes such activities as, for example, parent volunteers helping  with costumes for school plays or helping a child lace up football boots.

 

Types of DBS checks 

 

218. These are the types of checks available. 

Basic DBS check – this provides details of convictions and conditional cautions  considered to be ‘unspent’ under the terms of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act  1974. 

Standard DBS check –this provides information about convictions, cautions,  reprimands and warnings held on the Police National Computer (PNC), regardless  or not of whether they are spent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.  The law allows for certain old and minor matters to be filtered out. 

Enhanced DBS check – this provides the same information about convictions,  cautions, reprimands and warnings held on the Police National Computer (PNC)  as a Standard DBS check, plus additional information held by police such as  interviews and allegations. Additional information will only be disclosed where a  chief police officer reasonably believes it to be relevant and considers that it ought  to be disclosed. The position being applied for/or activities being undertaken must be covered by an exempted question in the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974  (Exceptions) Order 1975 and by provisions in the Police Act 1997 (Criminal  Records) Regulations 2002.68 

Enhanced DBS check with children’s barred list information – where people  are working or seeking to work in regulated activity relating to children, this allows  an additional check, to be made, about whether the person appears on the  children’s barred list, along with a check of the Police National Computer records  plus additional information held by police as above. The position being applied for or activities being undertaken must be eligible for an enhanced DBS check as  above and be for a purpose listed in the Police Act 1997 (Criminal Records) (No2)  Regulations 2009 as qualifying for a barred list(s) check. In addition, this check  can also include information as to whether an individual is subject to a section 128  direction. However, they have to use specific wording in the position applied for  field (see paragraph 240).

 

68 This legislation does not provide a list of job roles that are eligible for this check – such a list does not exist.  Instead, the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975 sets out the ‘exempted questions’ for  which a Standard DBS check can be obtained. Similarly, the Police Act 1997 (Criminal Records) Regulations 2002  set out the purposes for which an Enhanced DBS check can be obtained, and the Police Act 1997 (Criminal  Records) (No 2) Regulations 2009) list the circumstances in which an application for an Enhanced DBS check can  also include suitability information relating to children (a children’s barred list check and confirmation as to whether  an individual is subject to a s.128 direction). It is important to note that the Regulations can also remove roles,  duties or activities through the removal of an exempted question or of a particular purpose. Any individual (including  an applicant for a job which does not involve working with children) can be asked to apply for a Basic criminal  record check. This will show only unspent convictions and cautions. Further details can be found on gov.uk.

 

Considering which type of check is required 

 

219. Most staff in a school and those in colleges working with children will be  engaging in regulated activity relating to children, in which case an enhanced DBS  check which includes children’s barred list information, will be required. 

 

220. For all other staff (e.g. contractors) who have an opportunity for regular contact  with children who are not engaging in regulated activity, an enhanced DBS certificate,  which does not include a barred list check, will be appropriate. 

 

221. Barred list information must not be requested on any person who is not  engaging in or seeking to engage in regulated activity. 

 

222. The flowchart below (page 60) provides more information on the decision making  process. 

 

223. Where a DBS certificate is required, it must69 be obtained from the candidate  before, or as soon as practicable after, the person’s appointment, including when using  the DBS update service (see paragraph 232).  

 

69 16-19 Academies, Special Post-16 institutions and Independent Training Providers must ensure they  obtain the certificate from the applicant before the person’s appointment. 

 

224. Once the checks are complete, the DBS will send a DBS certificate to the  applicant. The applicant must show the original paper DBS certificate to their potential  employer before they take up post, or as soon as practicable afterwards. Schools and  colleges will be able to compare any information disclosed on the certificate with any  information shared by the applicant during the recruitment process. DBS guidance on  how to check a DBS certificate can be found on GOV.UK.  

 

225. Schools and colleges should assess cases fairly, on an individual basis. A  decision not to appoint somebody because of their conviction(s) should be clearly  documented, so if challenged the school or college can defend its decision, in line with  its policy on recruitment of ex-offenders. 

 

226. When assessing any disclosure information on a DBS certificate schools and  colleges should take into consideration the explanation from the applicant, including for  example: 

the seriousness and relevance to the post applied for; 

how long ago the offence occurred; 

whether it was a one-off incident or a history of incidents; 

     • the circumstances around the incident; and 

has the individual accepted responsibility for their actions? 

 

227. The school or college should also consider the incident in the context of the  Teachers' Standards and Teacher misconduct guidance, if the applicant is applying for  a teaching post. 

 

228. Where a school or college allows an individual to start work in regulated activity  relating to children before the DBS certificate is available, it should ensure that the  individual is appropriately supervised and that they carry out all other checks, including  a separate children’s barred list check.70 

 

229. Separate barred list checks must only be carried out in the following  circumstances:  

for newly appointed staff who are engaging in regulated activity, pending the  receipt of an Enhanced Certificate with Barred List information from the Disclosure  and Barring Service (DBS) (and where all other relevant checks as per paragraph  213 have been carried out); or,  

where an individual has worked in a post in a school or college that brought them  into regular contact with children or young persons which ended not more than  three months prior to that person’s appointment to the organisation (and where all  other relevant checks as per paragraph 213 have been carried out). 

 

70 16-19 Academies, Special Post-16 institutions and Independent Training Providers do not have access  to standalone barred list check and as such must not allow someone to start work in regulated activity  without an enhanced DBS certificate (with barred list information).

 

DBS Update Service  

 

230. Individuals can join the DBS Update Service71 at the point that an application for  a new DBS check is made. Subscription to the service enables future status checks to  be carried out by employers to confirm that no new information has been added to the  check since its issue. 

 

231. As good practice, many schools and colleges require new staff to join the Update  Service as part of their employment contract. The benefits of joining the Update Service  are: 

portability of a DBS check across employers; 

free online checks to identify whether there has been any change to the  information recorded, since the initial certificate was issued and advise whether  the individual should apply for a new DBS check; and 

that individuals will be able to see a full list of those organisations that have carried  out a status check on their account. 

 

232. Before using the Update Service, schools and colleges must:  

obtain consent from the individual to carry out an online check to view the status of  an existing standard or enhanced DBS check; 

confirm the DBS certificate matches the individual’s identity; 

examine the original certificate to ensure that it is valid for the children’s workforce;  and,  

ensure that the level of the check is appropriate to the job they are applying for,  e.g. enhanced DBS check/enhanced DBS check including with barred list  information. 

 

233. Further information about the Update Service, including when updated  information can be used, can be found on GOV.UK. 

 

71 There is an annual fee for applicants using the update service.

 

Prohibitions, directions, sanctions and restrictions 

 

Secretary of State teacher prohibition, and interim prohibition orders72 73 

 

234. Teacher prohibition and interim prohibition orders, prevent a person from carrying  out teaching work as defined in the Teachers’ Disciplinary (England) Regulations 2012  in schools, sixth form colleges, 16-19 academies, relevant youth accommodation and  children’s homes in England. Further information about the duty to consider referring to  the Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA) can be found at paragraph 333. Teacher  prohibition orders are made by the Secretary of State following consideration by a  professional conduct panel convened by the TRA. Pending such consideration, the  Secretary of State may issue an interim prohibition order if it is considered to be in the  public interest to do so. The TRA’s role in making prohibition orders and the processes  used to impose them are described in more detail in the publication “Teacher  misconduct: disciplinary procedures for the teaching profession” and “Teacher  misconduct: the prohibition of teachers: Advice on factors relating to decisions leading  to the prohibition of teachers from the teaching profession”. 

 

235. A person who is prohibited must not be appointed to a role that involves  teaching work (as defined in the Teachers’ Disciplinary (England) Regulations 2012  (see footnote 72).

 

72 Prohibition orders are made by the Secretary of State under section 141B of the Education Act 2002. The Teachers’  Disciplinary (England) Regulations 2012 apply to schools and sixth form colleges and any person that is subject to a  prohibition order is prohibited from carrying out teaching work in those establishments. By virtue of their Conditions of  Funding in respect of funding received from the Education and Skills Funding Agency, colleges may not employ or  engage a person who is subject to a prohibition order to carry out teaching work. 

73 The School Staffing (England) Regulations 2009, the Non-Maintained Special Schools (England)  Regulations 2015 and the Education (Independent School Standards) Regulations 2014 require governing  bodies or proprietors (of schools and sixth form colleges) to check that a person to be appointed is not  subject to an interim prohibition order. By virtue of their Conditions of Funding in respect of funding  received from the Education and Skills Funding Agency, before employing a person to carry out teaching  work in relation to children, colleges must take reasonable steps to establish whether that person is subject  to a prohibition order made under section 141B of the Education Act 2002.

 

Historic General Teaching Council for England (GTCE) sanctions and  restrictions 

 

236. There remain a number of individuals who are still subject to disciplinary  sanctions, which were imposed by the GTCE (prior to its abolition in 2012). See  paragraph 242 for login details to the TRA Secure Access system where GTCE checks  can be made.

 

Secretary of State section 128 direction 

 

237. A section 128 direction prohibits or restricts an unsuitable individual from  participating in the management of an independent school, including academies and  free schools. An individual who is subject to a section 128 direction is unable to:  

take up a management position in an independent school, academy, or in a free  school as an employee; 

be a trustee of an academy or free school trust; a governor or member of a  proprietor body of an independent school; or,  

be a governor on any governing body in an independent school, academy or free  school that retains or has been delegated any management responsibilities. 

 

238. There is no exhaustive list of roles that might be regarded as ‘management’ for  the purpose of determining what constitutes management in an independent school.  The Department’s view is that roles involving, or very likely to involve, management of a  school include (but are not limited to) headteachers, principals, deputy/assistant  headteachers, governors and trustees. It is important to note that the individual’s job title  is not the determining factor and whether other individuals such as teachers with  additional responsibilities could be considered to be ‘taking part in management’  depends on the facts of the case.74 

 

239. The grounds on which a section 128 direction may be made by the Secretary of  State are set out in The Independent Educational Provision in England (Prohibition on  Participation in Management) Regulations 201475 made under section 128 of the  Education and Skills Act 2008. 

 

240. A section 128 direction will be disclosed when an enhanced DBS check with  children’s barred list information is requested, provided that ‘child workforce  independent schools’ is specified on the application form as the position applied for. Where a person is not eligible for a children’s barred list check but will be working in a  management position in an independent school, a section 128 check should be carried  out using the TRA’s Employer Access service.  

 

241. A person subject to a section 128 direction is also disqualified from holding or  continuing to hold office as a governor of a maintained school.76 

 

74 The Independent Educational Provision in England (Prohibition on Participation in Management)  Regulations 2014

75 See the 2014 Regulations: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2014/1977/regulation/1/made 

76 As barred list information is required to be requested only for those school governors who are  engaging in regulated activity, when proposing to recruit a governor who will not work in regulated  activity, schools and colleges should use the Secure Access Portal to check whether the person is  barred as a result of being prohibited under s.128.

 

How to check TRA, Teacher Employer Access service for prohibitions,  directions, sanctions and restrictions 

 

242. Schools and colleges77 can use the TRA’s Employer Access service to make  prohibition, direction, restriction, and children’s barred list checks. The service is free to  use and is available via the TRA’s web page. Users will require a DfE Sign-in account to  log onto the service. 

 

243. Further information about obtaining a DfE Sign-in account and using the  Employer Access service to carry out a range of ‘teacher status checks’78 including  verification of qualified teacher status (QTS) and the completion of teacher induction or  teacher probation can be found on GOV.UK

 

77 Where employing teachers 16-19 Academies, Special Post-16 institutions and Independent Training  Providers should contact employer.access.gov.uk to check that the individual is not prohibited from teaching.  They must also obtain an enhanced DBS with barred list information for those working in regulated activity.  78 The Teacher Services’ system can also be used to check for the award of qualified teacher status (QTS)  and the completion of teacher induction or prohibition. 

 

European Economic Area (EEA) regulating authority teacher sanctions  or restrictions 

 

244. From 01 January 2021 the TRA Teacher Services system no longer maintains a  list of those teachers who have been sanctioned in EEA member states. Advice about  how information about a teacher’s past conduct may be obtained can be found at  paragraph 262-267.  

 

Childcare disqualification 

 

245. Childcare disqualification is an additional requirement to the general child  safeguarding arrangements provided under the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)  regime, which apply to all children. 

 

246. The childcare disqualification arrangements apply to staff working with young  children in childcare settings, including primary schools, nurseries and other registered  settings, such as childcare provision on college sites. 

 

247. The arrangements predominantly apply to individuals working with children aged  5 and under, including reception classes, but also apply to those working in wraparound  care for children up to the age of 8, such as breakfast clubs and after school care. 

 

248. For staff who work in childcare provision, or who are directly concerned with the  management of such provision, employers need to ensure that appropriate checks are carried out to ensure that individuals are not disqualified under the Childcare  Disqualification Regulations 2018.  

 

249. Further information on the staff to whom these Regulations apply, the checks that  should be carried out, and the recording of those checks can be found in  Disqualification under the Childcare Act 2006 statutory guidance on GOV.UK

 

Recording information 

 

Single central record 

 

250. Schools and colleges must79 maintain a single central record of pre-appointment  checks, referred to in the Regulations80 as the register and more commonly known as  the single central record. 

 

251. The single central record must cover the following people: 

for schools, all staff, including teacher trainees on salaried routes (see paragraph  278), agency and third-party supply staff, even if they work for one day, (see  paragraph 251);  

for colleges, details of staff, including agency and supply staff providing education  to children under the age of 18; and 

for independent schools, all members of the proprietor body. In the case of  academies and free schools, this means the members and trustees of the  academy trust. 

 

252. Paragraph 253 below sets out the minimum information that must be recorded in  respect of staff members (including teacher trainees on salaried routes). For agency  and third party supply staff, schools and colleges must include whether written  confirmation has been received that the employment business supplying the member of  supply staff has carried out the relevant checks and obtained the appropriate certificates, the date this confirmation was received and whether details of any  enhanced DBS certificate have been provided in respect of the member of staff.81 

 

253. The single central record must indicate whether the following checks have been  carried out or certificates obtained, and the date on which each check was completed or  certificate obtained: 

an identity check, (identification checking guidelines can be found on the GOV.UK website); 

a barred list check;82 

an enhanced DBS check requested/certificate provided; 

a prohibition from teaching check;83 

further checks on people who have lived or worked outside the UK (see  paragraphs 262-267); 

a check of professional qualifications, where required; and 

a check to establish the person’s right to work in the United Kingdom. In addition: 

colleges must record whether the person’s position involves ‘relevant activity’, i.e.  regularly caring for, training, supervising or being solely in charge of persons aged  under 18; and 

independent schools (including academies and free schools) must record details  of the section 128 checks undertaken for those in management positions. 

 

254. The details of an individual should be removed from the single central record  once they no longer work at the school or college.

 

79 16-19 Academies, Special Post-16 institutions and Independent Training Providers should maintain a  single central record. Information they should record is set out at paragraphs 251-255. As with other  schools and colleges they may record the information as set out at paragraphs 255-256.  80 Regulations 12(7) and 24(7) and Schedule 2 to the School Staffing (England) Regulations 2009 and the  School Staffing (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2013 (applied to pupil referral units through the  Education (Pupil Referral Units) (Application of Enactments) (England) Regulations 2007); Part 4 of the Schedule to the Education (Independent School Standards) Regulations 2014; Regulations 20-25 and the Schedule to the Further Education (Providers of Education) (England)  Regulations 2006; and Regulation 3 and paragraph 7 of Part 1 and paragraph 18 of Part 2 of the Schedule  to the Non-Maintained Special Schools (England) Regulations 2015.

81 Independent schools and non-maintained special schools should also include the date on which any  certificate was obtained. 

82 16-19 Academies, Special Post-16 institutions and Independent Training Providers are not required to  carry out a separate barred list check. 

83 There is no requirement for colleges to record this information, however, as part of the funding  agreement colleges must have robust record keeping procedures in place. 

 

Non statutory information 

 

255. Schools and colleges are free to record any other information they deem  relevant. For example: 

whether relevant staff have been informed of their duty to disclose relevant  information under the childcare disqualification arrangements; 

checks made on volunteers; 

checks made on governors;  

dates on which safeguarding and safer recruitment training was undertaken; and the name of the person who carried out each check. 

 

256. The single central record can be kept in paper or electronic form.

 

Multi Academy Trusts (MATS) 

 

257. MATs must maintain the single central record detailing checks carried out in  each academy within the MAT. Whilst there is no requirement for the MAT to maintain  an individual record for each academy, the information should be recorded in such a  way that allows for details for each individual academy to be provided separately, and  without delay, to those entitled to inspect that information, including by inspectors. 

 

Retention of documents 

 

258. Schools and colleges do not have to keep copies of DBS certificates in order to  fulfil the duty of maintaining the single central record. To help schools and colleges  comply with the requirements of the Data Protection Act 2018, when a school or college  chooses to retain a copy, there should be a valid reason for doing so and it should not  be kept for longer than six months. When the information is destroyed a school or  college may keep a record of the fact that vetting was carried out, the result and the  recruitment decision taken if they choose to.  

 

259. Copies of DBS certificates and records of criminal information disclosed by the  candidate are covered by UK GDPR/DPA 2018 Article 10.84 A copy of the other  documents used to verify the successful candidate’s identity, right to work and required  qualifications should be kept on their personnel file. 

 

260. Further information on handling DBS information can be found on GOV.UK

 

84 Legislation.gov.uk UK GDPR/DPA 2018 Article 10

 

3 Other checks that may be necessary for staff, volunteers  and others, including the responsibilities on schools and  colleges for children in other settings 

 

261. This section sets out the checks that are necessary for individuals who have lived  or worked outside the UK; agency and third-party staff; contractors; trainee teachers;  volunteers; governors and proprietors. It also sets out responsibilities placed on schools and colleges in relation to other settings, including alternative provision, work  experience and host families. 

 

Individuals who have lived or worked outside the UK 

 

262. Individuals who have lived or worked outside the UK must85 undergo the same  checks as all other staff in schools or colleges (set out in paragraphs 213). This includes  obtaining (via the applicant) an enhanced DBS certificate (including barred list  information, for those who will be engaging in regulated activity) even if the individual  has never been to the UK. In addition, schools and colleges must86 make any further  checks they think appropriate so that any relevant events that occurred outside the UK  can be considered. Following the UK’s exit from the EU, schools and colleges should  apply the same approach for any individuals who have lived or worked outside the UK  regardless of whether or not it was in an EEA country or the rest of the world. 

 

 These checks could include, where available: 

criminal records checks for overseas applicants - Home Office guidance can be  found on GOV.UK; and for teaching positions 

obtaining a letter (via the applicant) from the professional regulating authority in  the country (or countries) in which the applicant has worked confirming that they  have not imposed any sanctions or restrictions, and or that they are aware of any  reason why they may be unsuitable to teach87. Applicants can find contact details  of regulatory bodies in the EU/EEA and Switzerland on the Regulated Professions  database. Applicants can also contact the UK Centre for Professional  Qualifications who will signpost them to the appropriate EEA regulatory body.  

 

263. Where available, such evidence can be considered together with information  obtained through other pre-appointment checks to help assess their suitability. 

 

264. Where this information is not available schools and colleges should seek  alternative methods of checking suitability and or undertake a risk assessment that  supports informed decision making on whether to proceed with the appointment. 

 

265. Although sanctions and restrictions imposed by another regulating authority do  not prevent a person from taking up teaching positions in England, schools and colleges should consider the circumstances that led to the restriction or sanction being imposed  when considering a candidate’s suitability for employment. Further information can be  found in DfE Guidance: Recruit teachers from overseas.  

 

266. Not all countries provide criminal record information, and where they do, the  nature and detail of the information provided varies from country to country. Schools  and colleges should also be mindful that the criteria for disclosing offences in other  countries often have a different threshold than those in the UK. The Home Office  provides guidance on criminal records checks for overseas applicants which can be  found on GOV.UK. 

 

267. Some overseas qualified teachers can apply to the TRA for the award of qualified  teacher status (QTS) in England. More information about this is available here. Please  note that holding a teaching qualification (wherever it was obtained) does not provide  suitable assurances for safeguarding purposes that an individual has not been found  guilty of any wrongdoing or misconduct, and or is suitable to work with children.

 

 

85 16-19 Academies, Special Post-16 institutions and Independent Training Providers should ensure  individuals undergo the same checks.  

86 16-19 Academies, Special Post-16 institutions and Independent Training Providers should make any  further checks 

87 This is often the Department/Ministry of Education but varies across the world. Whilst the safeguarding  and qualified teacher status (QTS) processes are different it is likely that this information will be obtained  from the same place.

 

Agency and third party staff (supply staff) 

​​​​​​​

268. Schools and colleges must88 obtain written notification from any agency, or third  party organisation, that they have carried out the checks on an individual who will be  working at the school or college that the school or college would otherwise perform.89 In  respect of the enhanced DBS check, schools and colleges must90 ensure that written  notification confirms the certificate has been obtained by either the employment  business or another such business. 

 

269. Where the agency or organisation has obtained an enhanced DBS certificate  before the person is due to begin work at the school or college, which has disclosed any  matter or information, or any information was provided to the employment business, the  school or college must91 obtain a copy of the certificate from the agency. 

 

270. Where the position requires a children’s barred list check, this must92 be  obtained by the agency or third party by obtaining an enhanced DBS certificate with  barred list information, prior to appointing the individual. 

 

271. The school or college should also check that the person presenting themselves  for work is the same person on whom the checks have been made. 

 

 

88 16-19 Academies, Special Post-16 institutions and Independent Training Providers should obtain written  notification regarding checks when they use agency or third party staff. 

89 Colleges must comply with regulations 11 to 19 of The Further Education (Providers of Education)  (England) Regulations 2006 in respect of agency workers; maintained schools must comply with  regulations 18 and 30 of the School Staffing (England) Regulations 2009; non-maintained special schools  must comply with paragraphs 5 and 16 of the Schedule to The Non-Maintained Special Schools (England)  Regulations 2015; and independent schools (including academies and free schools) must comply with  paragraph 19 of the Schedule to The Education (Independent School Standards) Regulation 2014.  90 16-19 Academies, Special Post-16 institutions and Independent Training Providers should ensure that  written notification confirms the certificate has been obtained by either the employment business or another  such business. 

91 16-19 Academies, Special Post-16 institutions and Independent Training Providers should obtain a copy of the certificate in such circumstances.

 

 

Contractors 

 

272. Where schools and colleges use contractors to provide services, they should set  out their safeguarding requirements in the contract between the organisation and the  school or college. 

 

273. Schools and colleges should ensure that any contractor, or any employee of the  contractor, who is to work at the school or college, has been subject to the appropriate  level of DBS check. Contractors engaging in regulated activity relating to children will  require an enhanced DBS check (including children’s barred list information). 

 

274. For all other contractors who are not engaging in regulated activity relating to  children, but whose work provides them with an opportunity for regular contact with  children, an enhanced DBS check (not including children’s barred list information) will  be required.93 In considering whether the contact is regular, it is irrelevant whether the  contractor works on a single site or across several sites. In cases where the contractor  does not have opportunity for regular contact with children, schools and colleges should  decide on whether a basic DBS disclosure would be appropriate. 

 

275. Under no circumstances should a contractor on whom no checks have been  obtained be allowed to work unsupervised or engage in regulated activity relating to  children. Schools and colleges are responsible for determining the appropriate level of  supervision depending on the circumstances. 

 

276. If an individual working at a school or college is self-employed, the school or  college should consider obtaining the DBS check, as self-employed people are not able  to make an application directly to the DBS on their own account. 

 

277. Schools and colleges should always check the identity of contractors on arrival at  the school or college. 

 

92 Where using a third party 16-19 Academies, Special Post-16 institutions and Independent Training  Providers must ensure a DBS with barred list information if obtained for those engaging in regulated  activity. 

93 It will only be possible to obtain an enhanced DBS certificate for contractors in colleges which are  exclusively or mainly for the provision of full-time education to children.

 

Trainee/student teachers 

 

278. Where applicants for initial teacher training are salaried by the school or college,  the school or college must94 ensure that all necessary checks are carried out. If these  trainee teachers are engaging in regulated activity relating to children (which in most  cases by the nature of the work, they will be), an enhanced DBS check (including  children’s barred list information) must95 be obtained. 

 

279. Where trainee teachers are fee-funded, it is the responsibility of the initial teacher  training provider to carry out the necessary checks. Schools and colleges should obtain  written confirmation from the provider that it has carried out all pre-appointment checks  that the school or college would otherwise be required to perform, and that the trainee  has been judged by the provider to be suitable to work with children. 

 

280. There is no requirement for the school or college to record details of fee-funded  trainees on the single central record. However, schools and colleges may wish to record  this information under non statutory information, see paragraph 255.  

 

Visitors  

 

281. Schools and colleges have different types of visitors, those with a professional  role i.e. educational psychologists, social workers etc. those connected with the  building, grounds maintenance, children’s relatives or other visitors attending an activity in school such as a sports day. For visitors provided via a third party see para 268-271. 

 

282. Schools and colleges should not request DBS checks or barred list checks, or  ask to see existing DBS certificates, for visitors such as children’s relatives or other  visitors attending a sports day. 

 

283. Headteachers and principals should use their professional judgment about the  need to escort or supervise such visitors. 

 

284. For visitors who are there in a professional capacity check ID and be assured  that the visitor has had the appropriate DBS check (or the visitor’s employers have  confirmed that their staff have appropriate checks). 

 

285. Whilst external organisations can provide a varied and useful range of  information, resources and speakers that can help schools and colleges enrich  children’s education, careful consideration should be given to the suitability of any  external organisations. 

 

286. School and college safeguarding policies should set out the arrangements for  individuals coming onto their premises, which may include an assessment of the  education value, the age appropriateness of what is going to be delivered and whether  relevant checks will be required.

 

Volunteers 

 

287. Under no circumstances should a volunteer on whom no checks have been  obtained be left unsupervised or allowed to work in regulated activity. 

 

288. Whilst volunteers play an important role and are often seen by children as being  safe and trustworthy adults, the nature of voluntary roles varies, so schools and  colleges should undertake a written risk assessment and use their professional  judgement and experience when deciding what checks, if any, are required. 

 

289. The risk assessment should consider: 

the nature of the work with children, especially if it will constitute regulated activity,  including the level of supervision (see paragraphs 292-293 about supervision);  

what the establishment knows about the volunteer, including formal or informal  information offered by staff, parents and other volunteers; 

whether the volunteer has other employment or undertakes voluntary activities  where referees can advise on their suitability; and 

whether the role is eligible for a DBS check and if it is, what level is appropriate. Details of the risk assessment should be recorded.96 

 

96 Schools and colleges are free to determine where to store this information.

 

When should a DBS with barred list be obtained for volunteers? 

 

290. Schools or colleges should obtain an enhanced DBS check (which should  include children’s barred list information) for all volunteers who are new to working in  regulated activity with children, i.e. where they are unsupervised and teach or look after  children regularly, or provide personal care on a one-off basis in schools and colleges.  See Annex F for statutory supervision guidance. 

 

291. Employers are not legally permitted to request barred list information on a  supervised volunteer, as they are not considered to be engaging in regulated activity. 

 

Supervision of volunteers 

 

292. It is for schools and colleges to determine whether a volunteer is considered to  be supervised. Where an individual is supervised, to help determine the appropriate  level of supervision, schools and colleges must97 have regard to the statutory guidance  issued by the Secretary of State (replicated at Annex F). 

 

293. For a person to be considered supervised, the supervision must be:

by a person who is in regulated activity relating to children;98 

regular and day to day; and 

reasonable in all the circumstances to ensure the protection of children. 

 

 

97 16-19 Academies, Special Post-16 institutions and Independent Training Providers must follow the  supervision guidance when engaging volunteers. 

98 It should be noted that if the work is in a specified place such as a school, paid workers remain in  regulated activity even if supervised. 

 

Existing volunteers 

 

294. Volunteers engaging in regulated activity do not have to be re-checked if they  have already had a DBS check (which includes barred list information) unless the  school or college have any concerns. 

 

Maintained school governors 

295. Governors in maintained schools are required to have an enhanced DBS  check.99 It is the responsibility of the governing body to apply for the certificate for any  governors who do not already have one. 

 

296. Governance is not a regulated activity relating to children, so governors do not  need a children’s barred list check unless, in addition to their governance duties, they  also engage in regulated activity. 

 

297. Schools should also carry out a section 128 check for school governors, because  a person prevented from participating in the management of an independent school by  a section 128 direction, is also disqualified from being a governor of a maintained  school. Using the free Employer Secure Access sign-in portal via the Teaching  Regulation Authority (TRA) Teacher Services web page, schools can check if a person  they propose to recruit as a governor is barred as a result of being subject to a section  128 direction. There is no requirement for schools to record this information on the single central record, however, see paragraph 255 on recording non statutory  information. 

 

298. Associate members are appointed by the governing body to serve on one or  more governing body committees. The School Governance (Constitution and  Federations) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2016 which make enhanced DBS  checks mandatory for maintained school governors do not apply to associate members,  and so there is no requirement for them to be checked unless they also engage in  regulated activity at their school. 

 

99 The School Governance (Constitution) (England) Regulations 2012 were amended by the School  Governance (Constitution and Federations) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2016 to include this  requirement.

 

Sixth form college governors 

 

299. Governing bodies in sixth form colleges can request an enhanced DBS check  without a children’s barred list check on an individual as part of the appointment process  for governors. 

 

300. An enhanced DBS check with children’s barred list information should only be  requested if the governor will be engaging in regulated activity relating to children. This  applies equally to volunteer governors who will be engaging in regulated activity, who  should be treated on the same basis as other volunteers in this respect. 

 

Proprietors of independent schools, including academies and free  schools and proprietors of alternative provision academies100 

 

301. Before an individual becomes either the proprietor of an independent school or  the chair of a body of people which is the proprietor of an independent school, the  Secretary of State will: 101 102 

carry out an enhanced DBS check; and where such a check is made, obtain an  enhanced DBS certificate (either including or not including children’s barred list  information as appropriate);103 

confirm the individual’s identity; and 

if the individual lives or has lived outside of the UK, where applying for an  enhanced check is insufficient, such other checks as the Secretary of State  considers appropriate. 

 

100 The proprietor of an academy or free school or alternative provision academy or free school is the  academy trust. 

101 Paragraph 20 of the Schedule to the Education (Independent Schools Standards) Regulation 2014. 102 This will include an academy trust of any academy or free school, other than for 16-19 academies or  free schools. 

103 Regulation 2(5) of the Education (Independent School Standards) Regulations 2014 sets out when such  checks are considered relevant.

 

302. The Secretary of State also undertakes these checks in respect of the chair of  governing bodies of non-maintained special schools.104 

 

303. The requirement for an enhanced DBS check and certificate is disapplied for the  chair of an academy trust if the academy is converting from a maintained school and the  person has already been subject to a check carried out by the local authority.105 

 

304. Where the proprietor is a body of people (including a governing body in an  academy or free school), the chair must ensure that enhanced DBS checks are  undertaken, for the other members of the body, and that where such a check has been  undertaken, an enhanced DBS certificate is obtained, and the chair must ensure that  identity checks are completed before, or as soon as practicable after, any individual  takes up their position. 

 

305. The chair must also ensure that other members are not subject to a section 128  direction that would prevent them from taking part in the management of an  independent school (including academies and free schools). 

 

306. Further checks, as the chair considers appropriate, should be undertaken where,  by reason of the individual’s living or having lived overseas, obtaining an enhanced DBS  check is not sufficient to establish an individual’s suitability to work in a school. 

 

307. In the case of an academy trust, including those established to operate a free  school, the trust must require enhanced DBS checks on all members of the academy  trust, individual charity trustees, and the chair of the board of charity trustees.106 Academy trusts, including those established to run a free school, have the same  responsibilities as all independent schools in relation to requesting enhanced DBS  checks for permanent and supply staff.107 

 

308. Where an academy trust delegates responsibilities to any delegate or committee  (including a local governing body), the trust must require DBS checks on all delegates  and all members of such committees.108 Academy trusts must also check that members  are not disqualified from taking part in the management of the school as a result of a  section 128 direction (see paragraph 237). 

 

104 Paragraphs 6 and 17 of the Schedule to The Non-Maintained Special Schools (England) Regulations  2015. 

105 Paragraph 20(7) of the Schedule to the Education (Independent School Standards) Regulations 2014. 106 As required in the funding agreement. 

107 The Education (Independent School Standards) Regulations 2014. The regulations do not apply to 16- 19 free schools and academies. 

108 As required in an academy trust’s articles of association.

 

Alternative provision 

 

309. Where a school places a pupil with an alternative provision provider, the school  continues to be responsible for the safeguarding of that pupil and should be satisfied  that the provider meets the needs of the pupil. 

 

310. Schools should obtain written confirmation from the alternative provider that  appropriate safeguarding checks have been carried out on individuals working at the  establishment, i.e. those checks that the school would otherwise perform in respect of  its own staff. 

 

Adults who supervise children on work experience 

 

311. Schools and colleges organising work experience placements should ensure that  the placement provider has policies and procedures in place to protect children from  harm.109 

 

312. Children’s barred list checks via the DBS might be required on some people who  supervise a child under the age of 16 on a work experience placement.110 The school or  college should consider the specific circumstances of the work experience.  Consideration must be given in particular to the nature of the supervision and the  frequency of the activity being supervised, to determine what, if any, checks are  necessary. 

 

313. These considerations would include whether the person providing the  teaching/training/instruction/supervision to the child on work experience will be: 

unsupervised themselves; and 

providing the teaching/training/instruction frequently (more than three days in a 30  day period, or overnight). 

 

314. If the person working with the child is unsupervised and the same person is in  frequent contact with the child, the work is likely to be regulated activity relating to  children. If so, the school or college could ask the employer providing the work  experience to ensure that the person providing the instruction or training is not a barred  person. 

 

315. Schools and colleges are not able to request that an employer obtains an  enhanced DBS check with children’s barred list information for staff supervising children  aged 16 to 17 on work experience.111 

 

316. If the activity undertaken by the child on work experience takes place in a  ‘specified place’, such as a school or sixth form college, and gives the opportunity for  contact with children, this may itself be considered to be regulated activity relating to  children. In these cases, and where the child doing the work experience is 16 years of  age or over, the work experience provider e.g. school or sixth form college should  consider whether a DBS enhanced check should be requested for the child in question.  DBS checks cannot be requested for children under the age of 16.112 

 

109 Guidance on work experience

110 Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006, as amended by the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012, which  came into force on 10 September 2012.

 

111 The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975 was amended by the Rehabilitation  of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) (Amendment) (England and Wales) Order 2012 so that employers may  no longer request checks in these circumstances. 

112 Under the Police Act 1997, an individual must be 16 or over to be able to make an application for a DBS  check

 

Children staying with host families (homestay) 

 

317. Schools and colleges quite often make arrangements for their children receiving  education at their institution to have learning experiences where, for short periods, the  children may be provided with care and accommodation by a host family to whom they  

are not related. This might happen, for example, as part of a foreign exchange visit or  sports tour, often described as ‘homestay’ arrangements (see Annex D for further  details). 

 

318. In some circumstances the arrangement where children stay with UK families  could amount to “private fostering” under the Children Act 1989. 

 

Private fostering - LA notification when identified 

319. Private fostering113 occurs when a child under the age of 16 (under 18 for  children with a disability) is provided with care and accommodation by a person who is  not a parent, person with parental responsibility for them or a relative in their own home. 

 

320. A child is not privately fostered if the person caring for and accommodating them  has done so for less than 28 days and does not intend to do so for longer. Such  arrangements may come to the attention of school staff through the normal course of  their interaction, and promotion of learning activities, with children. 

 

321. Where the arrangements come to the attention of the school or college (and the  school or college is not involved in the arrangements), they should then notify the local authority to allow the local authority to check the arrangement is suitable and safe for  the child. Schools and colleges who are involved (whether or not directly) in arranging  for a child to be fostered privately must notify local authorities of the arrangement as  soon as possible after the arrangement has been made. Notifications must contain the  information specified in Schedule 1 of The Children (Private Arrangements for  Fostering) Regulations 2005 and must be made in writing. 

 

322. Comprehensive guidance on private fostering can be found here: Private  fostering: local authorities. 

113 Part 9 of the Children Act 1989. 

 

4 How to ensure the ongoing safeguarding of children and  the legal reporting duties on employers 

 

323. This section explains the importance of safeguarding vigilance beyond the  recruitment process. 

 

324. Safer recruitment is not just about carrying out the right DBS checks. Similarly  safeguarding should not be limited to recruitment procedures. Good safeguarding  requires a continuing commitment from governing bodies, proprietors, and all staff to  ensure the safety and welfare of children is embedded in all of the organisation’s  processes and procedures, and consequentially enshrined in its ethos. See Parts one  and two of this guidance for information about providing a coordinated whole school and  college approach to safeguarding. 

 

Ongoing vigilance 

 

325. Governing bodies and proprietors should ensure they have processes in place  for continuous vigilance, maintaining an environment that deters and prevents abuse  and challenges inappropriate behaviour. 

 

326. To support this, it is important that school and college leaders create the right  culture and environment so that staff feel comfortable to discuss matters both within,  and where it is appropriate, outside of the workplace, which may have implications for  the safeguarding of children. This can assist employers to support staff, where there is a  need, and help them manage children’s safety and welfare, potentially providing them  with information that will help them consider whether there are further measures or  changes to procedures that need to be put in place to safeguard children in their care. 

 

Existing staff 

 

327. There are limited circumstances where schools and colleges will need to carry  out new checks on existing staff. These are when:

an individual working at the school or college moves from a post that was not  regulated activity with children into work which is considered to be regulated  activity with children. In such circumstances, the relevant checks for that regulated  activity must114 be carried out; 

there has been a break in service of 12 weeks or more; or 

there are concerns about an individual’s suitability to work with children. 

 

328. For colleges, an individual moving from a position that did not involve the  provision of education to one that does, must be treated as if that individual were a new  member of staff and all required pre-appointment checks must115 be carried out (see  paragraph 192). 

 

114 This also applies to 16-19 Academies, Special Post-16 institutions and Independent Training Providers

115 This also applies to 16-19 Academies, Special Post-16 institutions and Independent Training Providers

 

Duty to refer to the Disclosure and Barring Service 

 

329. There is a legal requirement for schools and colleges116 to make a referral to the  DBS where they remove an individual from regulated activity (or would have removed an individual had they not left), and they believe the individual has:  

engaged in relevant conduct in relation to children and/or adults, satisfied the harm test in relation to children and/or vulnerable adults; or 

been cautioned or convicted of a relevant (automatic barring either with or without  the right to make representations) offence.  

 

330. The DBS will consider whether to bar the person. Detailed guidance on when to  refer to the DBS (including what is the harm test and relevant conduct), and what  information must be provided, can be found on GOV.UK.  

 

331. Referrals should be made as soon as possible, when an individual is removed  from regulated activity. This could include when an individual is suspended, redeployed  to work that is not regulated activity, dismissed or when they have resigned. It is  important that as much relevant information is provided to the DBS as possible, as it  relies on the quality of information provided to them. 

 

332. When an allegation is made, an investigation should be carried out to gather  enough evidence to establish if it has foundation, and employers should ensure they  have sufficient information to meet the referral duty criteria explained in the DBS referral  guidance, which can be found on GOV.UK. 

 

 116 This also applies to 16-19 Academies, Special Post-16 institutions and Independent Training Providers

 

Duty to consider referral to the Teaching Regulation Agency 

 

333. Where a school or sixth form college teacher’s employer, including an agency,  dismisses or ceases to use the services of a teacher because of serious misconduct, or  might have dismissed them or ceased to use their services had they not left first, they  must consider whether to refer the case to the Secretary of State, as required by  sections 141D and 141E of the Education Act 2002. 

 

334. The Secretary of State may investigate the case, and if s/he finds there is a case  to answer, must then decide whether to make a prohibition order in respect of the  person.117 Details about how to make a referral to the TRA can be found on GOV.UK

 

117 Sections 141D and 141E of the Education Act 2002 do not apply to colleges (other than sixth form  colleges).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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