Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSIE): September 2024 changes

An updated version of KCSIE will come into force on 1 September 2024. Understand the changes and what your next steps should be.

Last reviewed on 14 June 2024See updates
School types: AllSchool phases: AllRef: 41784
  1. Part 1: safeguarding information for all staff
  2. Part 2: the management of safeguarding 
  3. Part 3: safer recruitment
  4. Part 4: safeguarding concerns or allegations made about staff
  5. Part 5: child-on-child sexual violence and sexual harassment
  6. Annex A: safeguarding information for school and college staff
  7. Annex B: further information 
  8. Annex C: role of the designated safeguarding lead (DSL)
  9. Next steps 

The new version of KCSIE comes into force on 1 September 2024. 

Please note: this article only summarises the changes between KCSIE 2023 and 2024. For a summary of the whole KCSIE 2024 document, see our other article

There was no consultation period this year as the changes are mainly technical. For example, many of the changes are to bring KCSIE in line with the working together to safeguard children 2023 guidance. 

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:

An updated definition of safeguarding

  • This is now in line with the working together to safeguard children 2023 guidance. Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is now defined as: 
    • Providing help and support to meet the needs of children as soon as problems emerge (this bullet point is new)
    • Protecting children from maltreatment, whether that is within or outside the home, including online (this last part has been added)
    • Preventing the impairment of children’s mental and physical health or development
    • Making sure that children grow up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care 
    • Taking action to enable all children to have the best outcomes

This is in paragraph 3. 

An updated list of early help indicators

  • You should now also be alert to any child who:
    • Has experienced multiple suspensions, is at risk of being permanently excluded from schools, colleges and in alternative provision or a pupil referral unit
    • Has a parent or carer in custody (previously it was 'family member in prison'), or is affected by parental offending
    • Is frequently missing/goes missing from education, home or care (the word ‘education’ has been added)

This is in paragraph 18. 

You can find more detailed information on early help in the working together to safeguard children guidance, which includes a more comprehensive list of indicators that a child may need early help.

New wording and changes in terminology

  • When referring to ‘abuse and neglect’, the guidance now also includes ‘exploitation’ throughout (for example, see the heading at the top of page 11)
  • The definition of abuse now also has 'including where they see, hear or experience its effects' in relation to domestic abuse (paragraph 24)
  • ‘Unexplainable and/or persistent absences from education’ has replaced the phrase 'deliberately missing education’ when referring to safeguarding issues (paragraph 29)
  • 'It is important that when staff have any concerns about child-on-child abuse they should speak to their DSL' – this has replaced '... if they have concerns ...' (paragraph 31)
  • The definition of child criminal exploitation and child sexual exploitation now says CCE and CSE 'may involve an exchange for something the victim wants, and/or for the financial advantage or increased status of the perpetrator or facilitator'. Previously the definition didn't include the word 'may' (paragraph 34)

Part 2: the management of safeguarding 

The section on children who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or gender questioning has been updated

For now, this section remains under review until the response to the gender questioning children consultation and final guidance have been published. 

If and when guidance on gender questioning chlldren, and/or any updated version of KCSIE, is published, you should refer to that guidance when deciding how to proceed.

In the meantime, you shouldn't make any changes to your policies and procedures in response to the draft gender questioning children guidance. You must, of course, continue to fulfil your legal duty to protect and support your trans pupils and staff

Refer to our FAQs about the general election for more updates on the status of draft guidance and consultation responses, as and when we have them.

The phrase 'gender questioning' has replaced the word 'trans'.

This section reflects that the Cass review:

  • Identified that caution is necessary for children questioning their gender as there are still unknowns around the impact of social transition, and that children may have wider vulnerability, such as complex mental health and psychosocial needs, and in some cases, autism spectrum disorder and/or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
  • Recommended that when families/carers are making decisions about support for gender questioning children, they should be encouraged to seek clinical help and advice. This should be done as early as possible when supporting pre-pubertal children

KCSIE says your school should take a cautious approach to support a gender questioning child and:

  • Consider the broad range of the individual's needs
  • Do this in partnership with their parents (except in rare circumstances where involving parents would bring a significant risk of harm to the child)
  • Include any clinical advice that is available
  • Consider how to address wider vulnerabilities, such as the risk of bullying 

It's also important for staff to 'create a culture' where pupils can speak out or share any concerns with staff (previously it was to 'provide a safe space' for pupils to do this). 

A new paragraph on using the DfE's data protection guidance 

Staff, governors and trustees should use the DfE’s data protection guidance for schools to help you:

  • Comply with data protection law
  • Develop data policies and processes
  • Know what staff and pupil data to keep
  • Follow good practices for preventing personal data breaches

This is laid out in paragraph 93.

A new paragraph on alternative provision

  • This clarifies that where a school places a pupil in an alternative provision provider, the school continues to be responsible for the safeguarding of that pupil. You should be satisfied that the placement meets the pupil’s needs (paragraph 171)

Updated wording in section on elective home education (EHE)

It now says that:

  • Elective home education can mean that some children are not in receipt of suitable education
  • Many home educated children have a 'positive learning experience' (previously it said 'overwhelmingly positive learning experience')

This is in paragraph 179.

Removed information on plans for further guidance on sexual harassment and sexual violence 

  • KCSIE 2023 stated that further guidance on teaching relationships education specifically to prevent sexual harassment and sexual violence would be published. This has been removed (paragraph 132 of KCSIE 2023)

Part 3: safer recruitment

There are no changes to this section.

Part 4: safeguarding concerns or allegations made about staff

There are no changes to this section.

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

Updated definition of early help 

  • Early help is now defined as 'support for children of all ages that improves a family’s resilience and outcomes or reduces the chance of a problem getting worse' (paragraph 497) 
  • This reflects the working together to safeguard children guidance

Statistic clarification 

  • The guidance says that children with disabilities are 3 times more likely to be abused than their peers. This previous wording was 'children with special educational needs and disabilities' (paragraph 456)  

Annex A: safeguarding information for school and college staff

The changes in terminology around the safeguarding definition and ‘unexplainable and/or persistent absences from education’ in part 1 have not been reflected in Annex A.

We contacted the DfE and a representative confirmed that this is an error. The Department will arrange for this to be corrected in the final version of KCSIE 2024, due to be published in September. 

Annex B: further information 

Preventing radicalisation

The section on preventing radicalisation is still under review after the government published a new definition of extremism on 14 March 2024.

For now, changes include:

  • An updated definition of radicalisation, which is defined as 'the process of a person legitimising support for, or use of, terrorist violence’
  • 'Susceptible to radicalisation into terrorism' has replaced the wording 'susceptible to an extremist ideology'
  • When referring to the Prevent duty, ‘the need to prevent people from becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism’ has replaced ‘the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism’
  • Some information around possible indicators has been removed. Instead, refer to the DfE's guidance on managing risk of radicalisation in your education setting

Child criminal exploitation (CCE) and child sexual exploitation (CSE)

There's a small update to the indicators of county lines. Be aware of children who:

  • Go missing from school or home and are subsequently found in areas away from their own
  • Have been the perpetrator or alleged perpetrator of serious violence (e.g. knife crime), as well as the victim

Children and the court system 

Annex C: role of the designated safeguarding lead (DSL)


  • Clarification that availability of the DSL in exceptional circumstances could include Skype

Holding and sharing information

  • The final bullet point in the section on holding and sharing information has been updated to include that the DSL should keep written records of all concerns, discussions and decisions, including the rationale for those decisions
    • This should include instances where referrals were or were not made to another agency such as LA children’s social care or the Prevent program

Next steps 

As these changes are minimal, there's not much you'll need to do in response. 

  • Check whether you need to reflect any of these changes in your child protection policy, such as any updated definitions and terminology changes
    • Be aware that the sections on 'children who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or gender questioning' and 'preventing radicalisation' are under review and therefore may change, but we don't know when this will be 
  • If you're the DSL, make sure you follow the guidance on keeping written records of all concerns, discussions and decisions, including the rationale for those decisions
  • If you place a pupil with an alternative provision provider, make sure you're satisfied that the placement meets the pupil’s needs

If you have a Leaders+ Safeguarding or Whole School membership, train your staff using the new edition of our safeguarding and child protection INSET pack. Covering the latest changes to KCSIE and the working together to safeguard children guidance, as well as current safeguarding issues, it will give you everything you need to deliver up-to-date, effective and compliant safeguarding and child protection training.

Article Updates

14 June 2024

We updated this article to clarify that there is an error where some of the updates to part 1 have not been reflected in Annex A. The DfE has confirmed that this will be corrected in the final version of the KCSIE 2024 guidance in September. 

29 May 2024

We've updated this article in line with Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSIE) 2024. 

8 June 2023

We updated this article in line with Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSIE) 2023.

1 September 2022

We made minor updates to this article to:

  • Include that KCSIE has:
    • Added a paragraph on Data Protection and UK GDPR (note these requirements aren't new) (paragraph 94)
    • Updated to reflect that safeguarding partners previously known as the clinical commissioning group are now called Integrated Care Boards (paragraph 108)
    • Provided clarity on the role of governors and proprietors when considering filtering and monitoring and ensuring the effectiveness is regularly reviewed (paragraph 141)
    • Updated to be clear a curriculum vitae (CV) should only be accepted alongside a full application form. CVs on their own will not contain all the information required to support safer recruitment (paragraph 215)
    • Made clear that learning lessons applies to all cases not just those which are concluded and found to be substantiated (paragraph 420)
  • Update paragraph numbers
24 May 2022

We updated this article in line with Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSIE) 2022.

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