Safeguarding updates welcomed, but ministers are warned over budgets

Written by: Pete Henshaw | Published:

Schools leaders have welcomed planned updates to statutory safeguarding guidance for schools.

The consultation over amendments and additions to the existing 2015 guidance, entitled Keeping Children Safe in Education, closed earlier this month.

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, while staff should receive annual training.

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.

Responding to the consultation, the National Association of Head Teachers welcomed the proposals, but warned that budgets would be stretched by the training requirements.

General secretary Russell Hobby said: “Safeguards should not unreasonably restrict teaching and learning opportunities, but appropriate online filters and monitoring systems are an essential part of schools’ safeguarding provision.

“Teachers need to feel confident in using technology and able to implement appropriate safeguards. We support the proposal that staff should receive safeguarding training at least annually and welcome the increased clarity regarding schools’ responsibilities in the statutory guidance.

“However, while schools’ responsibilities are clear, their budgets are not. Regular effective training costs money and time. The government could also assist the procurement of online filtering and monitoring systems by working with providers to reduce costs and achieve economies of scale.”

Mr Hobby also said that statutory PSHE would help ensure schools give protected time to discuss these kinds of issues with students – the government has recently confirmed that it will not be making PSHE and sex and relationships education statutory curriculum subjects (see page 6 for more on this).

For details on the proposed changes, which would come into effect in September, visit

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