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Keeping Children Safe In Education 2020 Published

Released without any warning on 17th June, Keeping Children Safe in Education 2020 was published. Expressions of disappointment were clear from a variety of agencies who had awaited a number of additional updates to this statutory guidance for the education sector which were outlined within the KCSIE 2020 consultation draft.

The government have been clear that the coronavirus pandemic resulted in this guidance being released and a further consultation period to be undertaken in September 2020 at the point where this guidance comes in to force. There are, however some notable changes to the 2019 edition.

These areas include:

  • mental health
  • whole school safeguarding culture
  • emphasising the important role of governing bodies in robust safeguarding
  • information about child criminal exploitation and child sexual exploitation
  • supply staff included in safeguarding concerns re: staff/volunteers
  • children who have a social worker
  • Data Protection: toolkit for schools
  • RSHE – opportunity to teach children about safeguarding 

For more detailed information, please come to one of our safeguarding webinars.

A copy of the full guidance can be found here


Children are attacking their parents during the UK coronavirus lockdown amid rising tensions inside homes, an official has warned.

The victims commissioner for England and Wales, Dame Vera Baird, said reports of the “newer kind of domestic abuse” were rising amid a spike in cases. 

“There’s some suggestion of abuse by older children on parents … which is probably suggestive of kids wanting to go out and not being allowed to,” she told MPs on Tuesday. 

“We’re talking teenagers, and that is a worry.”

Speaking to parliament’s Justice Committee, she said that calls to helplines and victims’ services had risen much faster than complaints to police, adding: “No one doubts that domestic abuse has increased exponentially and it is very much harder to escape when you are compelled to be in lockdown with your perpetrator.”

Dame Vera accused the government of being too slow to act against rising domestic abuse during the coronavirus lockdown, when “every other crisis there has been a similar development”.

“It was obvious that there was going to be this epidemic within the pandemic … it’s poor leadership,” she added.

Funding promised for helplines by the home secretary over Easter has not yet been received, MPs were told.

“The worry is that it will get worse and worse and domestic violence does tend to escalate when it’s not stopped,” Dame Vera added. “Sexual violence is also extremely worrying – two-thirds of sexual abuse happens inside the home.”

She predicted a “tsunami of complaints” as soon as the lockdown is lifted and called for the government to plan for the increase in people seeking help.

Dame Vera said domestic violence refuges were currently full but offers of emergency accommodation by hotel groups and universities had not yet been taken up.

Amid concerns over the impact of rising unemployment and a global recession, she said victims’ services were receiving calls from people who did not have enough food or money, could not access benefits and had lost their jobs.

Dame Vera spoke after a senior police officer told The Independent that the government must prepare for a “more volatile and agitated society” after lockdown.

Chief Superintendent Paul Griffiths, president of the Police Superintendents’ Association, predicted that unemployment, changes to drug markets and domestic abuse would cause a “whole load of societal impacts”.

“There are going to be people who are out of work, businesses that have not been able to sustain themselves, and the impact on society will start to come through,” he added.

“If there are challenges economically, there is sometimes a rise in crime and disorder.”

While overall crime has fallen by at least 28 per cent during the lockdown, Dame Vera said that a spike in reports of anti-social behaviour suggested that “people are getting more frustrated and slightly angrier at things like noise nuisance, which perhaps isn’t a surprise given what’s going on”.

Police have vowed to continue responding to incidents, despite staff absences caused by the coronavirus, but the Crown Prosecution Service has updated its guidance to mean fewer criminals will be charged.

“It’s inevitably going to lead to more diversion [away from prosecution], more cautioning and more no further action,” Dame Vera said. “We have to be very careful that victims are taken into account.”


Credit: Independent


Government Makes U-turn on Nurseries' Access to Furlough Cash

The Government has backtracked on the amount of financial support that early years providers can access from ‘free entitlement’ funding and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (furloughing) in a move described as ‘a kick in the teeth’.

The Early Years Alliance said the move was likely to lead to nursery closures and threatened the long-term viability of the sector.

In new guidance released today (17 April), ‘Coronavirus (COVID-19): financial support for education, early years and children’s social care’, the Department for Education gives instances where an early years provider will not be able to furlough staff or will only be able to access the CJRS ‘to cover up to the proportion of its paybill which could be considered to have been paid from that provider’s private income’.

The move follows weeks of uncertainty in the early years sector about possible contradictions between the DfE early years sector guidance, which clearly stated that providers could access both schemes, without giving any restrictions, and the Treasury guidance on the CJRS, which said that, ‘Where employers receive public funding for staff costs, and that funding is continuing, we expect employers to use that money to continue to pay staff in the usual fashion – and correspondingly not furlough them. This also applies to non-public sector employers who receive public funding for staff costs.’

Since the DfE guidance for the early years sector was published on 24 March, no clarification has been issued on this, and as recently as yesterday (16th April) the advice that nurseries could access free hours funding and furlough staff was repeated as the DfE announced planned amendments on EYFS relaxation.

The DfE is believed to have been in protracted discussions with the Treasury about how early years funding guidance should be applied.

Many nurseries have already furloughed a large proportion of their staff or closed temporarily on the basis that they could receive free entitlement and furlough funding. The new guidance was released at 6.30pm on Friday evening, with early years settings due to start claiming through the CJRS portal on Monday 20 April.

The new guidance says that private providers should only furlough employees if:

  • the employee works in an area of business where services are temporarily not required and where their salary is not covered by public funding
  • the employee would otherwise be made redundant or laid off
  • the employee is not involved in delivering provision that has already been funded (free entitlement funding)
  • (where appropriate) the employee is not required to deliver provision for a child of a critical worker and/or vulnerable child
  • the grant from the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme would not duplicate other public grants received, and would not lead to financial reserves being created

It goes on to specify that if ‘it is difficult to distinguish whether staff are funded through free entitlement or private income…then an early years provider can access the CJRS to pay the proportion of its paybill that comes from ‘parent paid’ hours.

For example, if a provider’s average monthly income is 40 per cent from funded hours and 60 per cent from other sources, it could claim CJRS support for up to 60 per cent of its paybill.

The DfE says it is ‘considering appropriate measures to monitor the use of these schemes in order to detect any duplication of funding, and will be considering potential options to recover misused public funding as required’.

A DfE spokesperson said, 'We have already confirmed that we will continue to fund councils for the free childcare entitlements for the duration of these closures, as we ask settings to remain open where needed for children of critical workers and most vulnerable.

'To support them with this we are relieving some of the burdens on staff during these challenging times, temporarily changing some of the requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage framework and providing significant financial support, including a business rate holiday for many private providers. Today we have set out further clarity on other support available, including eligibility for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme where an employer receives government funding.'

Early Years Alliance response

Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Alliance, said, ‘It is completely unacceptable that having given a clear and explicit assurance to childcare providers that they would be able to rely on financial support from both “free entitlement” funding and the Job Retention Scheme during the coronavirus crisis, the government is now saying that it will be watering down this support.

‘Early years businesses will have made significant financial plans and decisions based on the guidance already published, and many will have already started furloughing staff. It is simply too late for the government to start adding new caveats, conditions and limits now.

‘For early years providers across the country who have already struggled for years as a result of government underfunding, to be told weeks into this crisis that the support they were promised may be far less than they were led to believe is a complete kick in the teeth. What the government is proposing would have a devastating impact on childcare settings, and in the worst cases, could lead to permanent closures across the sector.

‘Many childcare professionals are putting their own health and wellbeing at risk by continuing to work on the frontline during this pandemic to ensure that critical workers and vulnerable children have the childcare they need, while others who have taken the difficult decision to close are still working hard to support their families remotely. For the government to treat the sector with such a lack of respect and fairness at this time truly beggars belief.

‘The Treasury needs to urgently rethink its stance on this, and prioritise giving providers the support they need to continue providing care during this incredibly challenging time by ensuring that all settings can fully access both schemes, as the sector was originally led to believe would be the case. Otherwise, when all this is finally over, there may not be a childcare sector left.’

Tulip Siddiq MP, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Children and Early Years, said, 'The Government has buried a major U-turn on early years funding in guidance published tonight, withdrawing crucial financial support that they initially promised.

'Early years providers were told explicitly that they could access the furlough scheme while receiving free childcare entitlements from local authorities. Now we learn that Ministers want to put severe restrictions on this support, at a time when childcare providers are already struggling to stay afloat.

'Many nurseries planned on the basis of the previous guidance and could now face permanent closure as a result of this U-turn. The Government must rethink this decision urgently.'

Purnima Tanuku OBE, Chief Executive of NDNA, said, 'This comes as a huge shock to the sector which is relying on both the Job Retention Scheme and early years funding entitlement to be able to survive this crisis.

'Many nurseries that have remained open to critical workers’ children are doing so at a huge financial loss.

'The Government does not appear to have early years on their agenda, which is appalling at a time when early years providers have stepped up to deliver the care that’s desperately needed for critical workers.

'They are themselves the fourth emergency service: key workers caring for key workers. This is a total disregard for the fantastic work early years providers are doing, risking their own safety every day to keep the country going. The Government does not appear to acknowledge or recognise this.

'The Government’s main objectives are to ensure sufficient places for key workers’ children and vulnerable children right now and to ensure there is a robust sector available once the crisis has abated. This move puts in jeopardy the direction of travel they claim is of paramount importance and will leave the sector questioning their motives.

'Local authorities underspent early years funding by £63.5 million in 2018-19 and reported contingencies of £32 million in 2018-19 and £26 million in 2019-20. This money should be used to provide additional support to early years at a critical time like this.'

Credit: Liz Roberts @


More than 1,000 children have been linked to county lines drug gangs following a three-week crackdown by authorities.

The National County Lines Coordination Centre (NCLCC) said the children were among more than 2,400 vulnerable children protected in October 2018, January and May this year.

Around 131 referrals were made to the National Referral Mechanism, which identifies possible victims of human trafficking.

A total of 1,882 arrests were made, 403 drugs lines disrupted, £182,000 worth of drugs seized and 391 weapons - including 38 firearms - were found during the three week intensified crackdown.

The Home Office NCLCC was set up in a bid to target gangs exploiting children to sell drugs throug the so-called county-lines.

The term refers to the mobile phone lines dedicated to taking orders from drug users, which are operated by gangs from large cities who have expanded into smaller towns.

Young and vulnerable people often have their homes made into bases where drugs are sold from and turned into drug dens.

NPCC lead for county lines, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Duncan Ball, said: “Since the NCLCC was set up we have made great strides in tackling and dismantling cruel county lines gangs and protecting the vulnerable people exploited by them.

“The large number of arrests and weapons seized is testament to the hard work and dedication of the centre and of officers across the country who work tirelessly to pursue and prosecute those involved.”

The NCA predict there are around 2,000 "deal lines" in operation.

Nikki Holland, the NCA’s county lines lead and director of investigations, said: “Thanks to the dedication of law enforcement officers over the past year since the centre launched, we have been able to target county lines networks in a co-ordinated way like never before – taking huge numbers of drugs and weapons off the streets and safeguarding those most vulnerable.”

Minister for Crime, Policing and Fire Kit Malthouse added: “County lines has a devastating impact on our communities and we are working relentlessly to disrupt these gangs and put an end to the exploitation of children and vulnerable adults.”

Credit: ITV


Forty children as young as 14 recruited to deal drugs inside school

A county lines drug gang forced 40 children to deal cannabis and cocaine at a single school.

The teens, some as young as 14, had been supplied with drugs and dealing kits including deal bags and scales. 

Police say grown-up dealers had a network of 40 pupils dealing at the school which has just over 1,200 pupils - meaning one in thirty was possibly selling drugs.

It is suspected that girls as young as 14 at Kingsdown School in Swindon, Wiltshire, have been pestered for sex in exchange for cocaine.

And the dawn police raid yesterday - on the eve of GCSE results - revealed the extent of the teens coerced into the operation.

Wiltshire Police arrested a 27-year-old man during the raid. He has since been released under investigation.

Sgt Nathan Perry, who planned the 7am raid, said: "We found the person we're looking for, we've managed to safeguard the children who were at risk and we've found drugs.

"We all know about county lines and the risks associated with that.

"The difficulty with this type of drugs operation is that it's specifically targeting very young children in order to get them to deal drugs.

"Some of the information we've been passed is that children are not only being coerced into this activity, but they're also being physically threatened.

"If they go to police or teachers they'll be harmed," he added. 

Police were said to have been alerted to the gang at Kingsdown School.

A pair of older teen boys, both 16, are believed to have been supplying a network of up to 40 children in their mid-teens at the Swindon school.

The 27-year-old was arrested during the morning raid on suspicion of possession of class B drugs with intent to supply and inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.

The raid came as Swindon police focused their sights on modern slavery.

Nationally, police have increasingly turned to modern slavery laws to target drug dealers who force children and vulnerable adults to peddle their product.

Sgt Perry said those convicted could expect sentences of up to 15 years imprisonment.

"You've got children being exploited and young kids being forced to run the drugs. We will take it seriously," he said.

"The sheer nature of the exploitation of these young people is unacceptable.

"If we don't do something to stop that they're potentially going to be at risk for the rest of their lives.

"They need that positive engagement and we're not going to be able to do that until we remove their handlers, for want of a better word."
If children start becoming more withdrawn, secretive about their possessions and start acquiring cash and expensive clothes without explanation, it could be a sign they are being exploited by the gangs.
Article reported by Tom Seaward for the Mirror.
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