Dear Colleagues,

New Keeping Children Safe in Education statutory guidance for England published

The updated Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSIE) guidance for England has now been published, and comes into effect on September 1, 2021. There are a number of significant updates including:

  • An entirely new section on low-level concerns
  • “Annex A”, which is an alternative to part one for those who work in schools and colleges, but not directly with children
  • Additional information in Annex C about keeping and storing records
  • Enhanced guidance on a number of topics, particularly on peer-on-peer abuse, child criminal exploitation, child sexual exploitation and online safety
  • A section on a “whole school and college approach to safeguarding”.

Schools will wish to ensure that their relevant policies are updated to reflect the new guidance and also to have procedures in place to ensure relevant information is disseminated to all staff, and that they can demonstrate that they have read and understood the revised Part 1 (or Annex A as appropriate).

The linked Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment guidance has also been updated, also with effect from September.

In August and September, our sister association, the Safeguarding and Child Protection Association (Sacpa), will be holding three webinars, KCSIE 2021 and sexual violence update. All three sessions will look at the changes to both pieces of guidance and will highlight the management and compliance implications. BSA members can book a place at one of these webinars at the member rate of £60.

For more information, or to book your place at any of the three session, please click on the links below:

Coronavirus (COVID-19) – guidance for autumn term

We’re grateful to our colleagues at ISC for sharing the following update with us:

The DfE has published updated COVID guidance for schools which will apply from Step 4 of the roadmap out of lockdown, which is expected to take place on 19 July.

In line with the Government’s approach to wider society, the guidance relaxes current COVID restrictions. Education secretary Gavin Williamson said: “The measures we will haveafter summerstrike the right balance as we learn to live with the virusso children can get on with their lives and education in the best possible way.”

While most independent schools will have broken up by July 19, schools will be able to implement the new measures for the autumn term.

Please see links to:

The key measures set out in the revised guidance are:

– Bubbles will come to an end, with the guidance saying it will no longer be “necessary to keep children in consistent groups (‘bubbles’)“. This will allow for a more normal school day, with the guidance explaining that “assemblies can resume” and that schools “no longer need to make alternative arrangements to avoid mixing at lunch“.

From Step 4, NHS Test and Trace will be responsible for contact tracing – not schools. The current self-isolation rules for close contacts of a positive case will come to an end. From 16 August, the guidance says that “children under the age of 18 years old will no longer be required to self-isolate“. Instead, primary and secondary school children identified as close contacts will be advised to take a PCR test.

– Face coverings will no longer be advised for pupils, staff and visitors, either in classrooms or in communal areas.

The proposed system for asymptomatic testing will be as follows (quotes from the guidance):

  • Over the summer, staff and secondary pupils should continue to test regularly if they are attending settings that remain open, such as summer schools and out of school activities based in school settings.”
  • As pupils will potentially mix with lots of other people during the summer holidays, all secondary school pupils should receive two on-site lateral flow device tests, three to five days apart, on their return in the autumn term. Settings may commence testing from three working days before the start of term and can stagger return of pupils across the first week to manage this.”
  • Pupils should then continue to test twice weekly at home until the end of September, when this will be reviewed.”
  • Staff should undertake twice-weekly home tests whenever they are on-site until the end of September, when this will also be reviewed.”

Schools are advised to retain their capacity for remote education for those pupils unable to attend school due to COVID-19.

On inspections, the guidance says: “For independent schools (other than academies), it is intended that both inspectorates will return to a full programme of routine inspections from September 2021 and they will complete the current cycle of standard inspections – which was delayed by the pandemic – in 2022.”

While measures are being loosened, the guidance advises schools to have an outbreak management plan setting out steps to be taken if there is an outbreak at the school or within the local area. Plans should cover the possibility of bubbles or face masks being reintroduced temporarily.

Best wishes,The BSA Team
bsa@boarding.org.uk