06 April, 2020
The Department for Education ("DfE") has published updated safeguarding guidance for schools, colleges and other education providers in light of the ongoing coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
The guidance is applicable to all schools, academies, independent schools, maintained nursery schools and pupil referral units as well as FE colleges, sixth-form colleges and other further education sector institutions, including those designated as such and funded by the EFSA.
The guidance highlights that it is likely that education provider's existing child protection policies do not accurately reflect the new guidance and therefore existing procedures will need to be kept under review and revised as necessary as circumstances change and evolve. It is also clear that, although these circumstances are unprecedented, education providers are still required to have regard to their statutory obligations under Keeping Children Safe in Education and must continue to operate in line with key safeguarding principles.
The most effective way for education providers to ensure their policies and procedures are up to date is to create an addendum to their existing child protection policy to cover how their standard procedures will be amended for the duration of the Covid-19 pandemic, and this is the approach suggested by the DfE. Thereafter, the new addendum in place should be clearly communicated to staff and a mechanism put in place to ensure staff are made aware of any revisions down the line.
The DfE recommend that as a minimum the addendum should include:
It will also be important for providers to keep this addendum under regular review to ensure that it is up to date with government, local authority and safeguarding partner guidance issued from time to time.
We will provide further updates as matters develop, however if you have any queries arising as a result of this briefing, or you require any advice on the above, please do not hesitate to get in touch with a member of our Education team on 0333 207 4462. or send any question through to Forbes Solicitors via our online Contact Form.