No 6 Transfer of CP Safeguarding files
Where children leave the school or college, the designated safeguarding lead should ensure their child protection file is transferred to the new school or college as soon as possible, ensuring secure transit, and confirmation of receipt should be obtained. For schools, this should be transferred separately from the main pupil file. Receiving schools and colleges should ensure key staff such as designated safeguarding leads and SENCOs or the named person with oversight for SEN in a college, are aware as required.
In addition to the child protection file, the designated safeguarding lead should also consider if it would be appropriate to share any information with the new school or college in advance of a child leaving. For example, information that would allow the new school or college to continue supporting victims of abuse and have that support in place for when the child arrives.
Keeping Children Safe in Education 2020, paragraphs 87-88
What is a Safeguarding File and who maintains it?
A safeguarding file is the record kept by the Designated Safeguarding Lead (and their deputies) of any concerns about a child's welfare and could include Child Protection meeting notes and those of subsequent meetings. Such files may only have one concern in it or it may have an extensive history. It is the record of all safeguarding concerns that a setting might have, including those from a previous setting. Regardless of its size, the information in the file must be passed on, in its entirety, to the next educational setting. For a number of schools this is now electronic, but still may have paper documents from before the time when such a system started to be used.
The contents of the file should include:
- Basic/core details of the child and their family
- Chronology of key events including actions taken by the DSL (Deputy DSL)
- Cause for Concern forms/logs from staff and other adults (volunteers)
- Referrals such as to MASH, Early Help referrals and any outcomes or actions
- CP Conference minutes/school contributions/core group minutes etc.
- Any Children’s Social Care assessments or Early Help Assessments
- Multi-agency meetings minutes
How to transfer a file
It is our advice that the existing setting retain a copy of the chronology and send the complete CP file to the new setting securely either by hand or Special Delivery, separately from the child’s main pupil file, within fifteen school days from notification.
Care must be taken to ensure confidentiality is maintained and the transfer process is as safe as possible. Parents should never be used as couriers for such files. If concerns are serious and current, DSLs should ensure that the receiving provision is aware of any safeguarding in advance of transfer – see paragraph.
Whether CP files are transferred by hand or by post there should be written evidence, such as a signed and dated receipt from the receiving school. This receipt should be retained in line with Records Management Society guidance.
What to keep?
Schools should keep a copy of their Chronology. This will provide the school with evidence of what they knew and the actions they took to safeguard and promote the welfare of the child while at their setting. Such information should be stored securely and destroyed once the retention period has expired (on the child’s 25th birthday). Schools should consider carefully any other copies kept under their information retention policies linked to GDPR.
Sharing historic records
Schools may have safeguarding concerns or minutes from Child Protection proceedings or similar reports from other agencies that are historical. Our advice is that all such records are shared as this does provide the next setting with an awareness of what concerns were held, and their detail, even though these may not be current.
If DSLs are unsure about such information being shared, they should consult their Data Protection Officer for further support and advice. An attached form offers DSLs a format to record their decision making process should they feel this to be required when sharing historical information.
Electronic CP Records
Electronic records must be password protected with access strictly controlled. If a student transfers between two schools that are using systems such as CPOMS, they will receive a notification from CPOMS that there is data pertaining to that student on another CPOMS system.
Children that pose a risk to other learners
It is essential that information is provided to the receiving school/16+ provider at the earliest opportunity where there is a concern that the pupil may pose a risk to others. This enables the receiving setting to undertake the necessary risk assessments and ensure support is in place. Settings are strongly advised to contact the previous school if they have concerns about a young person and are not in receipt of a safeguarding file.
Pupils who are Dual Registered or Educated Off-site
Where a pupil is dual registered a copy of the CP file should be passed onto the other school/alternative provider/Academy/centre at the earliest opportunity.
Responsibility for maintaining an up to date and complete record remains with the school where the pupil is on roll. Due to the nature of such bespoke arrangements for individual pupils, the two DSLs should agree on how best to communicate to each other significant events and issues in relation to that pupil.
The transfer of the CP files must continue through to 16+ providers. The DSL should inform the receiving provider (if known) that a CP file exists and transfer as per guidance noted above. A 16+ provider should routinely ask if any CP files exist for all transferring students. If unknown, the setting should retain the file until the child’s 25th birthday.
See downloadable version of this guide for a file transfer receipt template and reason for sharing template.
No 6 Transfer of CP Safeguarding files - printable version
This download is for printing only, all the information can also be found on the webpage above.