The Department for Education has opened consultation on the document that will replace the current Safeguarding advice to schools and colleges contained in ‘Safeguarding Children and Safer Recruitment’. The new guidance is to be called ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’. The draft consultation document has been published along with the draft statutory guidance.
The guidance is deliberately much shorter than the document it replaces with a ‘focus on the crucial aspects of safeguarding‘. The document emphasises a reduction in national guidance and places an increased stress on professionals using their own judgement in local circumstances.
The most significant change will end the national ‘Safer Recruitment’ training and remove the obligation for interview panels to include someone who has completed the ‘Safer Recruitment’ training. However, schools will still have to undertake ‘Safer Recruitment’ training, which is ‘tailored to their staff needs…to ensure they are competent in making safer recruitment decisions‘.
The new guidance makes it clear that there is an expectation there will be fewer background checks on people working in schools.
The draft guidance maintains the need for the following:
- Schools must have a safeguarding policy
- Schools must have a designated senior person with responsibility for safeguarding
- Appropriate training must be undertaken by designated senior staff and those serving on recruitment panels
The draft guidance introduces the following:
- Schools need not check new staff where they have come from a ‘similar‘ post or unless there has been a gap of 3 months or more in service
- Schools may ask for an enhanced check on new staff, if they wish, but it is ‘not a requirement‘
- The school’s child protection policy should be made available on their website
- Schools must have a written recruitment and selection policy that is linked to the child protection policy
- Contractors working regularly where they may be in contact with children, should have enhanced checks made by their company
- Agencies must provide written notification that they have carried out checks on staff they supply to the school
- Schools may request enhanced checks on supervised volunteers as they judge necessary, but there is no duty to do so
The draft document raises an interesting comparison with guidance from the ‘Disclosure and Barring Service’ (DBS). For maintained schools there is no need for DBS checks to be undertaken on governors, however for independent schools, academies and Free schools, the ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ draft says that all governors should have enhanced checks.
The consultation process ends on Thursday 20th June 2013.
Download the pdf version here: Keeping Children Safe in Education
The consultation papers can be found on the Department for Education website using the link below: