Online Safety Update (1): Keeping Children Safe in Education 2021

The DfE has published ‘Keeping children safe in education 2021’ (KCSIE), which went live for all schools on 1 September 2021.

The following information provides a summary of the changes made:

Key updates in Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSIE)


  • Most of the changes that were proposed in consultation have been made
  • The role of the DSL has been strengthened
  • Following the pandemic, a new section on elective home-education has been added
  • Peer-on-peer abuse advice has been updated and strengthened
  • Further detail is provided on the expectations of child protection policies
  • The necessity for schools to carry out online safety reviews
  • Advice on recruitment processes
  • Clarification on Single Central Record (SCR) requirements
  • Updates on responding to allegations against staff
  • New guidance on the use of school premises for non-school activities
  • Further information has been provided on specific safeguarding issues such as Cybercrime and Upskirting
  • KCSIE now applies to providers of post-16 education


With education technology being Dataspire’s specialism, the following key points were made in reference to online safety:


  • Firstly, the section on online safety has been substantially rewritten and ultimately mainstreams the content as opposed to it being viewed as an additional section.
  • There was a specific reference to the need for child protection policies to include a behaviour policy that includes measures to prevent bullying and cyberbullying.
  • It was advised that staff safeguarding training must be an integral and aligned part of a whole school approach, alongside wider staff training and curriculum planning.
  • There is an expectation that “all staff should receive appropriate safeguarding and child protection training (including online safety) at induction, and that online safety training is provided as part of regular updates” throughout the school year.
  • Schools must now consider carrying out an annual review of their approach to online safety. This review should be supported by an annual risk assessment that considers and reflects the risks their pupils face.
  • The guidance emphasises a tailored approach and not simply ‘one size fits all’ especially when teaching about safeguarding and online safety which will need a personalised approach.
  • The impact of technology and increasing risks to children was included throughout, highlighting the fact that young people can be both victims and perpetrators of abuse.
  • Finally, the new guidance also introduced a new area of online safety risk: commerce. This area sits alongside the existing risk areas of content, contact and conduct. Commerce includes risks such as online gambling, inappropriate advertising, phishing and financial scams.

Annex B – Further Information: Annex B provided clearer definitions of Cybercrime and Upskirting as well as resources for schools to educate both pupils and staff on the risks and implications.

Annex D – Online Safety: As the majority of online safety guidance has been woven throughout the document, the annex was instead used as a space to provide useful resources to help support DSLs in ensuring that online safety is considered throughout the setting.


We hope you have found this summary helpful in getting up to speed with changes in the new guidance and as always, our team is here to support you if you have any questions on how to keep your online community safe.


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