Keeping Children Safe in Education 2024

keeping children safe in education 2022

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

What is the Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSiE) Statutory Guidance?

Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSiE) is the name of a document that contains statutory guidance that outlines the legal requirements (the ‘must’ actions) and best practices (the ‘should’ actions) for safeguarding in schools and colleges in England from the Department for Education (DfE). School management can decide which sections staff should read. However, they must ensure that all staff understand their roles and responsibilities.

KCSiE 2024 Announcement

This draft 2024 version of KCSiE was announced on 24 May 2024. The final version does not go live until 1 September 2024 and the version announced is for informational purposes only.

There was no consultation period this year, so there are only minimal changes (technical changes) implemented.

The DfE launched a Call for Evidence in March (which closes at 11.59 pm on 20 June 2024). This is an invitation for individuals and organisations within the education sector to share information and suggestions on child safeguarding practices in schools and colleges. The insights gathered from a broad range of stakeholders will be reflected in future policies in educational settings and KCSiE guidance. You can read more about the Call for Evidence and how to contribute in our article: DfE’s Call for Evidence on Safeguarding in Schools and Colleges and KCSiE 2024/2025.

What are the key changes for 2024?

Although the changes are not officially released until 1 September 2024, we recommend that you review the updates so you can start to include them in your safeguarding practices, as they often do not change radically. The full list of amendments can be found in the KCSiE 2024 Annex F.

Many of the updates are to ensure that KCSiE reflects the new Working Together to Safeguard Children (2023) guidance and are amendments to definitions, terms and language changes, as well as links to new resources. In addition, many of the updates are not really new and simply reinforce information that has been provided in prior guidance.

We’ve condensed the key points and listed them below. There may be additional items, so please ensure you read the entire KCSiE document.

Revised Definition of Safeguarding

The definition of ‘safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children’ now aligns with the changes reflected in Working Together to Safeguard Children 2023. (Part one – Page 4). It highlights the new emphasis on early intervention, protection from harm (both online and offline) and promoting the best outcomes for all children, including:

  • Providing help and support to meet the needs of children as soon as problems emerge.
  • Protecting children from maltreatment, inside or outside the home, including online.

Early Help

Early Help has been updated to reflect the changes outlined in Working Together to Safeguard Children 2023. (Part one – Paragraph 18 and other sections). It broadens the scope of Early Help, including a wider range of concerns. Professionals should be alerted to the need for early help for children who:

  • Frequently go missing/goes missing from education, home or care.
  • Have experienced multiple suspensions, is at risk of being permanently excluded from schools, colleges and in alternative provision or a pupil referral unit.
  • Has a parent or carer in custody or is affected by parental offending.

Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation

Another significant update is the use of the term ‘exploitation’ throughout the use of the statutory guidance. The headings have been updated to reflect the potential for abuse, neglect and exploitation rather than just abuse and neglect (Paragraph 19 and other examples).

The definition of abuse has been expanded to highlight that witnessing ill-treatment of others is harmful to children in relation to domestic abuse (‘including whether they see, hear or experience its effects’). (Part one – Paragraph 24).

Terminology Change – ‘Deliberately missing education’

The term ‘deliberately missing education’ has been updated as ‘unexplainable and/or persistent absences from education’ in relation to outlining the signs that a child may be at risk of harm. For example, if a child has been recruited to participate in county lines, you can’t assume a child is missing school deliberately. (Part one – Paragraph 29).

Data Protection Guidance

Staff (school staff, governors and trustees) in schools and colleges should use the DfE’s Data Protection in Schools guidance (DfE, 2024b) to help them understand data protection, develop data policies, understand what staff and pupil data you need to keep, prevent personal data breaches and to comply with the Data Protection Act and the UK GDPR when handling personal information. (Part two – Paragraph 92).

Alternative Provision

Additional clarification regarding alternative provision is that schools remain responsible and should ensure pupils’ needs are met when they place them in an alternative provision provider. (Part two – Paragraph 171).

Supporting LGBTQ+ Children

This section is under review pending the outcome of the Guidance for Schools and Colleges – Gender Questioning Children consultation for ‘Children who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or gender questioning’. (Part two – Paragraph 205-209).

Children and the Court System

There are two separate age-appropriate guides (one for 5-11 year olds (HM Courts and Tribunals Service, 2017a) and the other one for 12-17 year olds HM Courts and Tribunals Service, 2017)) for schools to use to support children in the court system. (Annex B – Page 148).

Preventing Radicalisation

This section is under review following the new March 2024 definition of extremism and updated Prevent duty guidance. It clarifies the potential indicators of radicalisation. (Annex B – Paragraph 156).

Holding and Sharing Information

Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) should keep records of all relevant concerns, discussions and decisions and the rationale for the decisions made (including not referring). (Annex C – Page 170).

Updated Document Sharing Nudes and Semi-Nudes (March 2024)

Use of artificial intelligence to create and share nudes and semi-nude images.

Links to an NSPCC resource for children with SEN, including children who are born deaf or have a hearing impairment.

Links to ‘Shorespace’, a safe space for teenagers worried about sexual behaviour (Lucy Faithful Foundation).

Next steps

It is recommended that schools and colleges audit their safeguarding processes and procedures in light of these 2024 KCSiE updates (although please take into account that changes may occur before the final release of the guidance on 1 September 2024). Following an audit, they should create an action plan to update their safeguarding and child protection policies, addressing any identified gaps. This process may involve informing your staff about the upcoming changes in KCSiE 2024 through additional training, updated documentation and staff discussions.

Keeping Children Safe in Education 2024 training

We offer a Keeping Children Safe in Education training course, with which you can ensure all your staff read the updated 2024 KCSiE document. You can email us at for a free trial.