Update proposed for statutory safety guidance for schools

Written by: Pete Henshaw | Published:
Photo: iStock

Statutory guidance on keeping children safe in education is to be updated to include specific duties tackling radicalisation and sexual exploitation.

The Department for Education (DfE) has launched a consultation on how the existing 2015 guidance, entitled Keeping Children Safe in Education, should be updated.

The updates include the need to have appropriate filters and monitoring systems to prevent children accessing harmful content via their school’s IT systems and so that “concerns can be spotted quickly”.

The new guidance would also require schools to teach their pupils about safeguarding, including online safeguarding.

On radicalisation, the new guidance includes references to the Prevent Duty and its implications for schools, including the procedures schools must have in place to protect those at risk.

The document also includes updates to reflect the most recent definitions and signs of child sexual exploitation.

Education secretary Nicky Morgan said online safety at school and at home was a priority. She added: “This includes ensuring young people know how to use the internet responsibly and that parents and teachers have the right measures in place to keep children safe from exploitation or radicalisation.”

At the same time, the DfE has also promised new training, due to be launched soon, for professionals working with children, including nurses and teachers. This will focus on handling online risks and supporting young people in the digital world.

Elsewhere, a parents’ guide on keeping their children safe online has been produced by the UK’s Council for Child Internet Safety, entitled Child Online Safety. The National Crime Agency’s thinkuknow website has also been updated with refreshed advice and guidance for parents and carers on preventing their children from becoming victims of sexual abuse and exploitation, both online and in the “real world”.

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