Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSIE): September 2023 changes

An updated version of Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSIE) comes into force on 1 September. Find out what's changed and what your governing board needs to do.

Last reviewed on 13 July 2023
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  1. Key things for you to know
  2. Part 1: safeguarding information for all staff
  3. Part 2: the management of safeguarding 
  4. Part 3: more details on safer recruitment measures
  5. Part 4: handling allegations against staff
  6. Part 5: child-on-child sexual violence and sexual harassment
  7. Annex A: safeguarding information for school and college staff
  8. Annex B: Further information 
  9. Next steps 

The 2023 version of Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSIE) comes into force on 1 September. 

Please note, this article only summarises the changes between KCSIE 2022 and 2023. For a summary of the whole document take a look at this article, which we're currently updating. Select 'save for later' at the top of that article to be notified when it's ready.

There are no major changes, but get up to speed with everything that's new below.

Do governors need to read all of KCSIE?

Yes, you should. 

We recommend all governors read the whole of KCSIE. This is because the board as a whole is responsible for safeguarding, and making sure your school's policies, procedures and training are compliant. You need to be familiar with KCSIE to monitor your school effectively.

While there is a condensed Annex A version, it's up to your board to decide which staff members can read this section – we don't recommend that governors read this section alone.

Key things for you to know

As governors or trustees, the most important changes are that you should:

  • Make sure the designated safeguarding lead (DSL) takes responsibility for understanding the filtering and monitoring systems and processes in place as part of their role (paragraph 103)
  • Make sure all staff understand their expectations, roles and responsibilities around filtering and monitoring as part of their safeguarding training (paragraph 124)
  • Assure yourselves that your child protection policy includes how your school approaches filtering and monitoring on school devices and school networks (paragraph 138)
  • Review the DfE’s filtering and monitoring standards. Your board should discuss with your IT staff and service provider what needs to be done to support your school in meeting the standards (paragraph 142). Specifically, your school should:
    • Identify and assign roles and responsibilities to manage filtering and monitoring systems
    • Review filtering and monitoring provision at least annually
    • Block harmful and inappropriate content without unreasonably impacting teaching and learning
    • Have effective monitoring strategies in place that meet its safeguarding needs

This is set out in part 2 of KCSIE.

Your school should inform shortlisted candidates that it might conduct an online search as part of due diligence checks in recruitment. Schools were prompted to consider doing these checks in KCSIE 2022, but KCSIE 2023 adds that your school should make shortlisted candidates aware it will be carrying them out (paragraph 221). This is set out in part 3. 

You can find more detail on the other changes below.

Part 1: safeguarding information for all staff

All staff working directly with children are expected to read at least part 1 of KCSIE (those who don’t work directly with children can read the condensed version of part 1, in Annex A). The changes to part 1 are:

Emphasis on filtering and monitoring:

  • As part of their safeguarding and online safety training, staff need to understand their expectations, roles and responsibilities around filtering and monitoring systems (paragraph 14). This new emphasis is repeated several times throughout the guidance

This section also now links to the most recent version of the behaviour in schools guidance

Part 2: the management of safeguarding 

This sets out the responsibility of governing bodies, proprietors and management committees.

This section explains the other changes to part 2, in addition to the specific changes for governors and trustees (see the first section of this article above).

New wording added for clarification: 

  • That some children are at greater risk of harm than others, both online and offline (previously, it didn't make reference to online) (paragraph 170)
  • Around how the term ‘children missing education’ is different from ‘children absent from education’
    • Children being absent from education for prolonged periods and/or on repeat can act a warning sign to a range of safeguarding issues. The guidance specifies it's important that your school's response to persistently absent pupils and children missing education supports identifying any abuse, and in the case of absent pupils, helps prevent the risks of them becoming a child missing education in future (paragraph 175)

A new line has been added into the section on elective home education (EHE):

  • If the parent/carer of a child with an education, health and care (EHC) plan has expressed their intention to educate their child at home, local authorities will need to review the plan and work closely with parents/carers (paragraph 178)

It's been updated with links to extra guidance and information for schools to use:

  • When thinking about information security and access management, your school should consider meeting the cyber security standards for schools and colleges (paragraph 144)
  • When out-of-school-setting providers use your school premises for non-school activities, guidance on keeping children safe in out-of-school settings lists the safeguarding arrangements your school should expect these providers to have in place (paragraph 167)
  • For further support on children with special educational needs, schools can use The Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Information and Support Services (SENDIASS) (paragraph 202)

Part 3: more details on safer recruitment measures

Along with informing shortlisted candidates about online searches, which we listed at the top of this article, your school should:

  • As part of ongoing vigilance, create the right culture so staff feel comfortable discussing safeguarding matters that happen in and outside of work – the guidance has added that this includes safeguarding matters which happen online (paragraph 343)

Other changes

Paragraphs 276 and 277 were reordered to make more sense, but there aren't any new requirements. The reordered paragraphs say that:
  • Documents used to verify the successful candidate's identity, right to work and required qualifications should be kept on their personnel file
  • Copies of DBS certificates and records of criminal information disclosed by the candidate are covered by UK GDPR/DPA 2018 Article 10. When your school chooses to retain a copy, it should have a valid reason for doing so and not keep it for longer than 6 months
  • When the information is destroyed, your school can keep a record of the fact vetting was carried out, the result and the recruitment decision, if it chooses to 
  • Your school does not have to keep copies of DBS certificate to fulfil its duty of maintaining the single central record

Part 4: handling allegations against staff

There’s a new heading and paragraph in this section titled 'organisations or individuals using school premises'.

It says that if your school receives an allegation relating to an incident where an individual or organisation was using your school premises for running an activity for children, your senior leaders should follow your safeguarding policies and procedures and inform the local authority designated officer (LADO), as they would with any safeguarding allegation (paragraph 377).

Part 5: child-on-child sexual violence and sexual harassment

The word 'sanction' has replaced the word 'discipline' to reflect the most recent behaviour guidance: 

  • Paragraphs 542 and 544 now say that teachers can sanction pupils whose conduct falls below the standard which could be reasonably expected of them
  • The heading above paragraph 544 has been tweaked to ‘sanctions and the alleged perpetrator(s)'

Annex A: safeguarding information for school and college staff

The changes here reflect the changes in section 1 of the guidance: all staff should receive appropriate safeguarding training that includes understanding their expectations, roles and responsibilities around filtering and monitoring as part of online safety (page 136).


Annex B: Further information 

Children who are absent from education

  • This section has been updated to reflect the difference between children absent from education and children missing education. It says that children being absent from school repeatedly and/or for prolonged periods, as well as children missing education, can act as a warning sign of potential safeguarding issues. Early intervention is essential to help prevent the risks of a child going missing in future
    • Note: it isn't completely clear, but the guidance implies that 'children missing education' is the next step up from children being absent from education (pages 144 and 145, also see paragraph 175)

Mental health

  • Attendance has been added to the list of things which can be impacted by mental health (page 148)

Radicalisation, the Prevent duty and Channel

  • The section on preventing radicalisation says children may be 'susceptible' to extremist ideology and radicalisation, rather than 'vulnerable' on preventing radicalisation (page 149)
  • The section on Channel has also removed the term 'vulnerable', and now refers to people as 'susceptible' and 'at risk' of being drawn into terrorism (page 151)
  • There’s more clarity around the fact that someone referred to Channel will be required to provide their consent before any support through the programme is provided (page 151)

Forced marriage

  • Since February 2023, it’s been a crime to carry out any conduct whose purpose is to cause a child to marry before their 18th birthday, even if violence, threats or another form of coercion are not used. This applies to non-binding, unofficial ‘marriages’ as well as legal marriages (pages 155 and 156)

Next steps 

  • Review the DfE's digital and technology standards to see if your school meets them, and discuss with IT staff/your school's service provider what your school can do to improve. If you have a whole-school membership, this article from The Key provides a priority checklist for meeting the digital standards
  • Talk to your headteacher about training for staff on KCSIE 2023, particularly filtering and monitoring expectations and responsibilities  
  • Staff will need to update your school's child protection policy, which will then come to you to review and approve. Use our guidance on how to review this policy to help you 
  • Staff may also need to update your school's attendance policy to reflect support around children absent from education and recognise the potential impact of mental health on attendance – read up on how to review this policy
  • Ask your headteacher/senior leaders about whether they're informing shortlisted candidates about conducting an online search as part of their recruitment process 

Article updates

13 July 2023

We've updated this article to notify you that our article on How to review your child protection policy has been updated in line with KCSIE 2023.

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