Friday Update – 8 January 2016

Welcome back after the Christmas break. In this week’s Update I highlight the consultation on revisions to statutory guidance on keeping children safe in education, amended guidance on behaviour and discipline, best practice advice on handling complaints and issues around parental responsibility, as well as the announcement of the new National Schools Commissioner.

CONSULTATION ON PROPOSED REVISIONS TO GUIDANCE ON KEEPING CHILDREN SAFE IN EDUCATION
On 22 December last year the Government issued a consultation on proposed revisions to its statutory guidance for schools on keeping children safe. The consultation document explains the proposed changes which include:

  • In the “Summary” reinforcing the importance of Part One as a starting point for all staff in schools and colleges to read and understand;
  • Increasing the focus on the importance of a child centred and coordinated approach to safeguarding;
  • Emphasising further the role that individual staff play in safeguarding and the fact it is everyone’s responsibility;
  • Highlighting the importance of early help and how it sits in the wider safeguarding system;
  • Highlighting the importance of data sharing;
  • Clarification on the role of the designated safeguarding lead and cover for the role;
  • A new section to cover online safety;
  • Aligning and clarifying training requirements for the designated safeguarding lead and staff;
  • Updating the inspection section to reflect the Ofsted framework; and
  • A new section covering children with special educational needs and disabilities.

The draft guidance has also been issued and if you would like to respond to the consultation, responses should be submitted by 22 February 2016, either online or via email (safeguarding.schools@education.gsi.ogv.uk) or post (Michael Bell, Level 3, Bishopsgate House, DfE, Feethams, Darlington, DL1 5QE) using this response form.

AMENDED GUIDANCE ON BEHAVIOUR AND DISCIPLINE
The DfE has updated its advice for school leaders and school staff on developing a school behaviour policy to reflect that, from this month, schools will no longer have an obligation to use home-school agreements.

BEST PRACTICE ADVICE FOR SCHOOL COMPLAINTS PROCEDURES 2016
This new advice from the DfE provides best practice for schools in creating and revising complaints procedures and how to deal with complaints, replacing the School Complaints Toolkit 2014. Over the next couple of weeks, I will compare this with our existing Complaints Guidance and Procedures document and will bring a revised document to Governors this term if any changes need to be made.

The DfE has also produced advice on dealing with issues relating to parental responsibility which you might find helpful.

NEW NATIONAL SCHOOLS COMMISSIONER
A new National Schools Commissioner has been appointed by the Department for Education. Sir David Carter, currently the Regional Schools Commissioner (RSC) for the South West, will succeed Frank Green who completes his term as Schools Commissioner at the end of January 2016.