REVISED September 2016
Why I don’t like the word ‘training’
I don’t much like the word ‘training’. To me it sounds too much like training dogs to respond to commands. Although I prefer the phrase ‘building capacity’, it’s not so self-explanatory, so I carry on using the word ‘training’.
I like ‘building capacity’ because it suggests that developing skills in safeguarding children is developmental and because it is an organisational process, not limited to one person. ‘Training’ sounds like once a person is ‘trained’, no more learning is needed. It’s also why I don’t like ‘refresher’ training; it’s not just about repeating what was said last time. Ideas evolve all the time, not least the learning from serious case reviews and there are often changes in legislation or expectations.
What happened to national training standards for safeguarding?
Working Together to Safeguard Children 2010 set out the specific content that should be included in training programmes for professionals carrying out different roles. But when Working Together was revised and republished in 2013, the national standards for the content of child protection training were removed.
Local Safeguarding Children Boards
Local Safeguarding Children Boards (LSCB) were set up in 2006, and regulation 5 of the Local Safeguarding Children Boards Regulations 2006 specifies their functions which includes ’developing policies and procedures in relation to…training of persons who work with children or in services affecting the safety and welfare of children’.
Some LSCB continue to use the groups and levels from Working Together 2010; others use a hybrid model using old and new, for example, the Pan-London guidance ‘Competency Still Matters’; and others have devised their own training standards.
Although, organisations within the LSCB area should follow their guidance, they are able to commission training from whichever provider they wish. However, the organisation must satisfy themselves that the provider fulfils the LSCB’s policy on training.
Key Training Areas
For schools, there are six key areas of training to arrange:
- Induction Training (mandatory)
- Awareness training for whole staff (statutory)
- Designated Safeguarding Lead Training (statutory)
- Safer Recruitment Training (statutory)
- Training about preventing terrorism (statutory)
(see Appendix 1)
- Training for School Governors (non-statutory)
- Training on specific issues
- Female Genital Mutilation
- Child Sexual Exploitation
There is no national guidance on the timescale for refresher training for staff, with the exception of the DSL training, which is at two-yearly intervals. Safer Recruitment training no longer has a refresher timescale.
Working Together to Safeguard Children 2015
Working Together to safeguard Children 2015 is the over-arching statutory guidance for all services that work with children and young people. The document gives guidance on the role of the Local Safeguarding Children Boards (LSCB) and says that they should ‘monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of training’. The training should cover how to identify and respond early to the needs of all vulnerable children, including: unborn children; babies; older children; young carers; disabled children; and those who are in secure settings.
Although LSCB’s may provide training, they do not commission or deliver direct frontline services. LSCBs do have a role in making clear where improvement is needed, but does not have the power to direct other organisations, who retain their own lines of accountability for safeguarding.
Keeping Children Safe in Education 2015
Keeping Children Safe in Education 2015 says ‘all staff members should receive appropriate child protection training which is regularly updated’. This training should include whistleblowing procedures and how to raise concerns about poor or unsafe practice and potential failures in the school or college’s safeguarding regime.
Governing bodies and proprietors must ensure that they comply with their duties under legislation which includes ensuring that appropriate safeguarding and child protection training is available in their schools or colleges. The headteacher and all staff members should undergo child protection training which is updated regularly, in line with advice from the LSCB.
The governing body should appoint a designated safeguarding lead and ensure that this person has the training to carry out their duties. This training should be updated every two years.
The School Staffing Regulations require governing bodies of maintained schools to ensure that at least one person on any appointment panel has undertaken safer recruitment training. Schools may choose appropriate training and may take advice from their LSCB in doing so. The training should cover, as a minimum, the content of the guidance set out in Keeping Children Safe in Education (2015). The DfE no longer accredits Safer Recruitment training.
Ofsted’s Inspecting Safeguarding in schools
The current Ofsted framework says that there should be clear and effective arrangements for staff development and training in respect of the protection and care of children. Staff and other adults should receive regular supervision and support if they are working directly and regularly with children where there are concerns about their safety and welfare.
In addition to inspecting the school’s compliance with statutory guidance, Ofsted will also be also alert to FGM when considering a school’s safeguarding arrangements and, where appropriate, ask questions of designated staff such as how alert are staff to the possible signs that a child has been subject to female genital mutilation or is at risk of being abused through it, by asking ‘what sort of training have [staff] had?’
Minimum Standards of Training
Statutory guidance on safeguarding training is actually very slim. Setting aside the question of good practice and building capacity to safeguard all children, the minimum schools must do is:
- Keep a record of staff training, including type of training and dates
- Offer training to all staff on a ‘regularly updated’ basis
- Training should cover how to identify and respond early to the needs of all vulnerable children, including: unborn children; babies; older children; young carers; disabled children
- Ensure induction training for new staff
- Ensure DSLs receive specific training for their role every two years
- Ensure that at least one person in each recruitment process has had ‘Safer Recruitment’ training
- Provide training about the duty to ‘prevent terrorism’
Many schools will offer more training than this and ensure that all staff are able to understand the risk to children in their community and be able to respond appropriately.
In the past training specifications have often talked about levels. Today, unless that is the language used by the LSCBs own training policy, training events should be not be described in terms of levels, for example, as ‘Level 3 training’, but by the role it is aimed at. Training is often advertised as, eg. Level 3, but in different areas, Level 3 means different content. Always check what content is being described and who the training is aimed at.
Designated Safeguarding Leads
In order to properly understand local procedures, thresholds and risks, it is important for Designated Safeguarding Leads to attend the local LSCB training. In some areas the need to attend this training forms part of the local policy, not least because it may say such training should be multi-agency.
However, the role of the DSL is complex and in order to fully understand their changing role, other training could be sought, especially in developing ideas about embedding safeguarding in to the school.
Choosing a training provider
There are a large number of providers offering safeguarding and child protection training including charities, generic training companies, specialist training companies, freelance trainers, and of course local authorities and LSCBs themselves.
Given that there is a wide variety of training providers, how do schools know who to choose?
There is no vetting or accreditation scheme for safeguarding training, so it is important that schools carry out due diligence before booking a provider. Some schools have been badly let down by companies who don’t meet expectations, and in a few cases I am aware of, haven’t even turned up.
Things to consider when booking a training provider
- Before contacting any training provider think carefully about the needs of your school and your staff. Ask yourself, ’what outcome do I need this training to achieve?’
- How does the training fit into our Safeguarding Development Plan?
- How does this training fit into understanding the developing risks for our pupils?
- Safeguarding in schools is always evolving and it is important that your training provider is not only delivering the latest content, but is keeping ahead of events and is flexible enough to be able to talk about emerging trends.
- Remember the safeguarding and child protection are not the same thing. Schools need to make sure they are purchasing safeguarding training, not only child protection training, unless that is what they require.
The provider’s website plays a key role in assessing whether they are up to date or not. The site should reference the latest legislation, currently 2015. Information should talk about Designated Safeguarding Leads, not child protection officers. There should be absolutely no mention of Area Child Protection Committees – they were abolished more than 10 years ago.
- Where courses are advertised, are the dates being offered recent?
- Does the website have phone numbers, email addresses and a physical company address?
- What do you know about the people behind the company?
- Does the website offer testimonials from clients? Are you able to ask the company for contact details, so that you can speak to previous clients directly?
There is no national scheme for the compulsory accreditation of safeguarding training, including Safer Recruitment training. Sometimes providers use a CPD logo on their materials to suggest national verification. The biggest provider of accreditation services is the ’CPD Certification Service’. This is a commercial membership company for CPD providers of all knids and on payment of a fee, course materials are assessed and a logo can be used on specific courses. This accreditation process applies to training in any industry, not just safeguarding.
Although there is accreditation available for Safer Recruitment training, it is not necessary to choose an accredited provider of this training.
How is the training described?
Course specifications should no longer refer to training ’levels’. National training content has not been specified since 2014, and the word ‘level’ now has no national meaning. Look for specific roles in the training description, for example, ’designated safeguarding lead’ or ’basic awareness for all staff’.
Course descriptions should not refer to ‘three year refresher’ training, as with the exception of DSL training, there is no ‘refresher’ training specified, unless the LSCB says so in their policy.
When you are speaking to potential training providers, ask whether they are able to respond to the specific needs of your school or whether the package is the same whatever your individual context.
Other questions to ask
- What is the content of the training programme?
- Are up-to-date materials in use?
- Are the latest learnings from Serious Case Reviews included?
- What is the trainer’s background and recent practice?
- Are you able to book a specific trainer that fits with the context of your school?
- What training methods will used?
- What is their preferred group size and maximum number?
- How long does the training session last?
- Does the training respond to the specific needs of your school?
- Is the training package flexible enough for your needs or can the provider bespoke the training for you?
- What resources and information will be given to people attending the training?
- Is there a simple fee structure or are there lots of add-ons?
- Who is providing (and paying for) the delegate materials?
- Does the fee include travel and/or accommodation for the trainer?
- Will the trainer be bringing equipment with them, or will you need to provide everything?
- When is payment due?
- Be cautious of paying everything before the day, especially if you haven’t used the company before or spoken to someone who has. (Occasionally, schools have lost money by trainers not turning up.)
- Registered companies can be checked for legitimacy and up-to-date details at Companies House.
- What is the company’s cancellation policy?
I hope this helps you think about the different aspects of booking safeguarding and child protection training. At Safeguarding In Schools we always aim to support your commissioning decisions. For further information about our training opportunities, call Kate, our business manager on 01223 929269 or email firstname.lastname@example.org .
You can download a copy of this article as an ebook: Safeguarding Training ebook
What does the statutory guidance say about safeguarding and child protection training?
Working Together to Safeguard Children 2015
Working Together to Safeguard Children 2015 identifies training in the following paragraphs:
4. Local Safeguarding Children Boards (LSCBs) should monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of training, including multi-agency training, for all professionals in the area. Training should cover how to identify and respond early to the needs of all vulnerable children, including: unborn children; babies; older children; young carers; disabled children; and those who are in secure settings.
4. These organisations [local authorities and district councils that provide children’s and other types of services] should have in place arrangements that reflect the importance of safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children, including:
- clear whistleblowing procedures, which reflect the principles in Sir Robert Francis’s Freedom to Speak Up review and are suitably referenced in staff training and codes of conduct, and a culture that enables issues about safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children to be addressed.
3. LSCBs do not commission or deliver direct frontline services though they may provide training. While LSCBs do not have the power to direct other organisations they do have a role in making clear where improvement is needed. Each Board partner retains its own existing line of accountability for safeguarding.
Keeping Children Safe in Education 2015
Keeping Children safe in Education 2015 identifies training in the following paragraphs:
11. All staff members should also receive appropriate child protection training which is regularly updated.
22. Staff and volunteers should feel able to raise concerns about poor or unsafe practice and potential failures in the school or college’s safeguarding regime. Appropriate whistleblowing procedures, which are suitably reflected in staff training and staff behaviour policies, should be in place for such concerns to be raised with the school or college’s management team.
30. Governing bodies and proprietors must ensure that they comply with their duties under legislation. They must also have regard to this guidance to ensure that the policies, procedures and training in their schools or colleges are effective and comply with the law at all times.
36. Governing bodies and proprietors should appoint a member of staff of the school’s or college’s leadership team to the role of designated safeguarding lead…This person should have the appropriate authority and be given the time, funding, training, resources and support to provide advice and support to other staff on child welfare and child protection matters.
39. The designated safeguarding lead should undergo updated child protection training every two years. The headteacher and all staff members should undergo child protection training which is updated regularly, in line with advice from the LSCB.
42. The School Staffing Regulations require governing bodies of maintained schools to ensure that at least one person on any appointment panel has undertaken safer recruitment training. Schools may choose appropriate training and may take advice from their LSCB in doing so. The training should cover, as a minimum, the content of this guidance.
Ofsted’s Inspecting Safeguarding in schools
The following paragraphs refer to safeguarding training:
26. There are clear and effective arrangements for staff development and training in respect of the protection and care of children. Staff and other adults receive regular supervision and support if they are working directly and regularly with children where there are concerns about their safety and welfare.
29. Governing bodies and proprietors must ensure that they comply with their safeguarding duties under legislation. They must ensure that the policies, procedures and training in their schools and colleges are effective and comply with the law at all times.
33. Governing bodies must appoint a designated teacher to promote the educational achievement of children who are looked after and ensure that this person has appropriate training. Governing bodies and proprietors should ensure that staff have the skills, knowledge and understanding necessary to keep looked after children safe.
50. The designated safeguarding lead should be aware of the guidance that is available in respect of female genital mutilation (FGM) and should be vigilant to the risk of it being practised. Inspectors should be also alert to this when considering a school’s safeguarding arrangements and, where appropriate, ask questions of designated staff such as:
- how alert are staff to the possible signs that a child has been subject to female genital mutilation or is at risk of being abused through it; what sort of training have they had?
Prevent Duty Guidance (for England and Wales) 2015
Prevent duty training is referred to in the following paragraphs
70. Specified authorities [including schools] should make sure that staff have training that gives them the knowledge and confidence to identify children at risk of being drawn into terrorism, and to challenge extremist ideas which can be used to legitimise terrorism and are shared by terrorist groups. They should know where and how to refer children and young people for further help. Prevent awareness training will be a key part of this.
Note that Prevent training does not have to be delivered by the Home Office, Police or the local authority. Schools may choose their own training provider, but as with training in other aspects of safeguarding, understanding the local context from local colleagues is important.