This is statutory guidance from the Department for Education (‘the Department’) issued under Section 175 of the Education Act 2002 (as amended), the Education (Independent School Standards) Regulations 2014, the Non-Maintained Special Schools (England) Regulations 2015 and the Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Act 2009 (as amended). 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.
|What is the status of this guidance?
|About this guidance
|Victims and alleged perpetrator(s)
|Who this guidance is for?
|School and college staff
|What does this guidance replace?
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 Practitioner.
Unless otherwise specified:
- ‘School’ means: all schools whether maintained, non-maintained or independent schools (including academies, free schools and alternative provision academies), maintained nursery schools  and pupil referral units;
- ‘College’ means further education colleges and sixth-form colleges as established under the Further and Higher Education Act 1992 and institutions designated as being within the further education sector.  College also means providers of post 16 Education as set out in the Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Act 2009 (as amended) : 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.
 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 19 for further detail on this requirement).
 Under section 28 of the Further and Higher Education Act 1992 (‘designated institutions’).
 Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Act 2009 (as amended)
For the purposes of this guidance, we, in places, use the term ‘victim’. It is a widely recognised and understood term. It is important that schools and colleges recognise that not everyone who has been subjected to abuse considers themselves a victim or would want to be described in this way. Ultimately, schools and colleges should be conscious of this when managing any incident and be prepared to use any term with which the individual child is most comfortable.
For the purpose of this advice, we, in places, use the term ‘alleged perpetrator(s)’ and where appropriate ‘perpetrator(s)’. These are widely used and recognised terms and the most appropriate to aid effective drafting of guidance. However, schools and colleges should think very carefully about terminology, especially when speaking in front of children, not least because in some cases the abusive behaviour will have been harmful to the perpetrator as well. As above, the use of appropriate terminology will be for schools and colleges to determine, as appropriate, on a case-by-case basis.
This statutory guidance should be read and followed by:
- Governing bodies of maintained schools (including maintained nursery schools) and colleges which includes providers of post 16 Education as set out in the Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Act 2009 (as amended) : 16-19 Academies, Special Post-16 institutions and Independent Training Providers;
- 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.
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.
This guidance replaces Keeping children safe in education 2022. A table of substantive changes is included at Annex F.