Keeping children safe in education (KCSIE) 2016 Legislature;
What has changed, what is the future and how to solve the problem at its core.

Keeping children safe in education (KCSIE)

Keeping children safe in education (KCSIE) is one of the most important parts of a child’s development. It allows children to gain confidence and live a positive life. As a result, legislation surrounding KCSIE was created in 2014. Since, there have been amendments, the latest being in September 2016, replacing the 2015 document. Some of the main areas that have been addressed include staff training and peer on peer abuse.

Furthermore, the 2016 document also highlights places that should be more of a concern to peers and staff. This is due to technological developments, and an increased awareness of on goings in the sector.

So, what are they key changes?

Changes from Part 1 of the KCSIE 2016:

Early Help

The changes here apply to staff, and how quickly they can identify someone who will benefit from earlier assistance. Discovering problems promptly allows for problems to be resolved quicker. This means children can learn more efficiently. Moreover, once issues have been found, staff are required to constantly review the child in question. If complications continue, parents can be contacted to resolve the issue in hand.

Staff Training

Staff are still required to attend training sessions to update their knowledge on safeguarding and child protection. However, the change is that staff are now recommended to receive / attend emails, staff meetings and e-bulletins, at least annually. The purpose for this is that staff can be provided with new, relevant skills and knowledge, to protect the children.

Changes from Part 2 of the KCSIE 2016:

Peer on Peer Abuse; The Excuses

This is a topic which has been heavily addressed between 2015 – 2016. Excuses such as ‘it was only banter’ or ‘it’s part of growing up’ are frequently being used in schools. This is to blind teachers to the fact bullying is occurring. To counterbalance this, the document proposes that staff should recognise the different forms of peer on peer abuse. Staff should also have a zero-tolerance attitude to abuse, understanding that any abuse is still abuse, no matter the situation.

Peer on Peer Abuse; Sexting

An important KCSIE 2016 change, due to the younger generation having easier, cheaper access to more advanced technology. Therefore, it is inevitable that issues such as this can arise. Schools and colleges should follow the code written from their child protection policy. This is advised by the KCSIE publication.

Additionally, schools can follow the UKCCIS (UK Council for Child Internet Safety) for added guidance. One of the key quotes from this is that “At any point in the process there is a concern a younger person has been harmed or is at risk of harm a referral should be made to children’s social care and / or the police” (UKCCIS, 2016). Stopping the abuse and aiding the child will benefit their overall health and education.

Peer on Peer Abuse; Opposite Gender

Schools and colleges should now adopt a child protection policy which encumbers the possibility for opposite gender bullying. Staff need to be aware of some of the situations that can arise from this such as girls being subject to inappropriate sexual touching. Staff need to be wary of boys as well, as they can be harmed by initiation / hazing style of violence.

Children with Special Educational Needs or Disabilities

The new document outlines the need for more recognition for children with SEN (special educational needs). The reason behind this, is that it can be harder to detect whether a child with SEN is being bullied, because:

Children with SEN can be impacted differently from abuse. They wouldn’t give off the signs like that of a child without SEN.
Communication barriers mean that finding these issues from discussion can be tricky.
“Assumptions that indicators of possible abuse such as behaviour, mood and injury relate to the child’s disability without further exploration” (NSPCC, 2016).
Children in Care

Obviously, this is something that most people would want to completely avoid. However, it does occur, and often it can be due to physical or mental abuse. The new way of trying to bypass this is by allowing members of staff, who work closely with the child, more information regarding the child’s situation. Staff are now entitled to a breadth of information, including:

The status of children being looked after i.e. full term or short term care, or if there is voluntary parental consent.
Contact arrangements with birth parents (or those with parental responsibility)
Child’s care arrangements.
Levels of authority delegated to the carer by the authority looking after the child.
There are several factors that can influence children in education more than others. This is because there are areas that can be focused on in the earlier stages to avoid problems occurring further down the line. Therefore, solving the problem at its root is imperative.

So, what factors ensure abuse is stopped at its core?

Online Safety (Included in Part 2 of the Document)

This was mentioned earlier, when discussing how mobile phones have been used to abuse children. This can often be out of the hand of school and colleges, as they are unable to monitor or filter was is being sent on children’s phones. And, despite most schools not allowing students access to Wi-Fi, children can still interact online through 3G and 4G.

However, they do have the ability to monitor and dictate what can be accessed on their own devices. The most common candidate here is the PC / laptops offered to children, so that they can interact in online tasks and learn more efficiently. This sounds like a wonderful idea, until you realise that this means children can have access to the worldwide web at early ages. Therefore, schools enforce filters and monitoring systems on all IT platforms to stop this problem before it begins.

One large depending factor, however, is that there will be some pupils who require monitoring far more than others. Consider these variables; age ranges of pupils, the number of pupils in the school and how often the pupils use the IT. These combined, could determine whether the technology will be a risk to children’s learning or not.

For example, monitoring secondary school students who haven’t yet learnt responsibility is a necessity. On the other hand, there is less of a need to control those in college as they are more aware of the online dangers out there.

Safer Recruitment (Included in Part 3 of the Document)

It is vitally important to ensure that children are paired with the safest and best teachers available. It enables education to improve and reduce the likelihood of abuse. The main way that staff are checked before being employed is by using a DBS (disclosure and barring service) safer recruitment checklist. There are three different levels of these, consisting of:

·         Standard; Provides the basic information of anything that is held under the Police National Computer (PNC). This could be anything between a conviction or a caution.

·         Enhanced; Includes the above, but also includes any additional information held by the police that they believe to be relevant to the person when being checked.

·         Enhanced with barred list check; Includes the above, as well as checking if somebody is on the children’s barred list, as they will be searching for work in regulated activity with children.

Governing bodies and proprietors can imply any of the checks on an individual if they believe that it is necessary. For this to work, the School Staffing Regulations, England 2009, point out that it is a requirement for at least one person on the appointment panel to have taken safer recruitment training.

In addition to this, schools and colleges must perform pre-appointment checks, before a potential interview is considered. Some examples of these checks include:

·         Verify the candidate’s ability to work in the UK

·         Confirm candidates mental and physical fitness

·         Verify candidate’s identity

However, these checks are very similar throughout all sectors of employment.

Safeguarding Children (Included in Part 2 of the Document)

There is one key theme throughout the legislature for safeguarding in schools 2016, and that is everyone. “Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is everyone’s responsibility” (GOV, 2016). This is a point that is pushed upon the public, to help reduce the level of abuse. This is shown in the KCSIE quiz 2016, where a question is based around it.

All staff members must be on high alert and aware to any possible abuse that could be being carried out. As well as this, staff must be aware to the fact that different forms of abuse often overlap. The main types of abuse consist of:

·         Abuse; usually where a child has been harmed and little has been done to ratify the situation.

·         Physical abuse; involves a child’s body being harmed, which can range between hitting and shaking, through to scalding and suffocating. Some can be far more dangerous to a child than others.

·         Emotional abuse; using words to make a child feel worthless, inadequate and unloved. Can impair a child’s ability to cope socially and effect their emotional development long term.

·         Sexual abuse; where somebody forces a younger person to take part in sexual activities without consent. Can involve physical contact or non-contact i.e. looking at sexual images.

·         Neglect; failing to meet a child’s needs, be it physical or psychological. Can cause issues such as malnutrition and hygiene problems.

Staff require guidance for safer working practices. To be able to achieve this, they must be mindful of the systems their specific school / college sets out for safeguarding. These are:

·         The child protection policy

·         The staff behaviour policy (or code of conduct)

·         The role of the designated safeguarding lead

New methods are being used / created to certify the safety of children in education. This is through technological change.

What is the future of KCSIE?

Use of CCTV in Schools – KCSIE

CCTV is currently being used in schools and colleges, however there are limitations. ATL, fitters of CCTV appliances, point out that they don’t allow for the technology to be placed within classrooms, if the aim of it is to gather data. They also condemn covert surveying (or spying). The only case this is allowed is if the police are involved with a possible criminal matter that occurred off premises. (ATL, 2013) also finds it “plainly unacceptable to allow free rein of the use of CCTV in schools”. Areas that may be of concern from this are bathrooms and changing rooms.

Another key issue surrounding CCTV is that it is a controversial topic. Nick Pickles, a director at Big Brother Watch believes that “Surveillance is used as a quick fix” (Guardian, 2012). The idea behind this is that CCTV doesn’t reduce bullying or vandalism, it just displaces it. Instead of a child stealing from someone’s locker, they steal from them in person off camera. Is that really a better system?

On the other hand, Stephanie Benbow, head teacher of St Mary’s CE high school, says that “Students tell us they feel very safe” (Guardian, 2012). This is understandable, as St Mary’s CE high school has 162 CCTV cameras. It is not constantly monitored, tapes are only viewed when an incident has been brought forward. The system has had great success, with only 4 incidents occurring over a 3-year timeframe.

So, which is it?

ADT points out that schools do see reduced levels of abuse and vandalism when CCTV is installed. However, the validity of this is questionable, as mentioned earlier. Interestingly, teachers are more in favour of the use of CCTV, while pupils are all less open to the idea, due to the lack of privacy.

Despite this, the prediction from ADT is that the use of CCTV in education will grow. As the technology improves, so will the potential it provides to those in education. As this happens, guidance and regulation will need to evolve alongside, so that children’s privacy is maintained. Additionally, teachers need to be kept up-to-date to avoid breaking child protection policy rules.

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