Why is safeguarding training important to schools?
Effective safeguarding practice is crucial in schools and all other educational settings. If practice is robust, it will not only support and protect pupils but will also safeguard staff, visitors and the wider community. If pupils feel safe they will be ready to engage in learning and in all aspects of school life.
All educational settings have legal safeguarding responsibilities, set out in the two key DFE statutory guidance documents: Keeping children safe in education (KCSIE), which focuses on the practical elements required in each setting, and Working together to safeguard children, which focuses on directing the multi-agency arrangements your Local Safeguarding Partnership (LSP) will follow.
It is essential that everyday practice is driven by the standards set out in this legislation, But to do this effectively high quality safeguarding training is essential. Whilst your safeguarding policies are an important element of guiding practice, training will have the biggest impact on how everyone carries out their role. So, let's explore some of the key aspects which training courses should include:
How to safeguard all pupils
All schools have a legal duty to protect their pupils from harm. This includes proactive preventative measures, the action taken to prevent exposure to risk, and procedures to support pupils known to be at risk or who have experienced harm. As such it is important that training not only focuses on the key aspects such as physical, emotional, sexual abuse and neglect; but also informs staff about thematic areas. Although many thematic areas relate to contextual safeguarding themes outside the school and home setting, safeguarding training should also cover safeguarding areas e.g. patterning.
How to identify & support vulnerable pupils
Whilst it is important to recognise that any pupil may be vulnerable at some point or in certain circumstances, we know from research that certain groups are particularly vulnerable from a safeguarding perspective. Examples of groups include:
- Pupils with Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities (SEND);
- Looked after children (LAC);
- Pupils with mental health and/or behavioural difficulties;
- Pupils with complex health needs;
- Children who have experienced adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and/or trauma;
- LBGTQIA+ pupils.
Therefore, safeguarding training should identify these groups, providing the rationale for what makes them vulnerable and most importantly how staff can be vigilant and offer appropriate support.
Measures to safeguard staff
In addition to safeguarding pupils, schools also have a duty to protect all employees and volunteers. In the main this is delivered through a range of comprehensive policies and procedures however training also plays a crucial role. In England, the education sector has moved away from working to safeguarding levels 1, 2, 3 & 4 and follow the training standards set out in KCSIE. In addition to child protection courses, all good training providers should include a mixture of practical courses e.g. health & safety, first aid, risk assessment, GDPR together with specialist training to support staff in bespoke roles e.g. Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL), Designated Mental Health Lead (DMHL), Appropriate Adult, Fire Warden, Administration of Medication
Support for Governors / Trustees
Although a voluntary role, governance has the overall responsibility for their setting which includes measuring the effectiveness of safeguarding procedures. Therefore, training should not only equip the Named Safeguarding Governor/Trustee but also the full governing body/trustee board.
Safeguarding training should never be a 'tick box' exercise. Therefore look for a training provider that also offers refresher courses which will consolidate ongoing learning and keep up-to-date with the latest requirements. Conducting a regular safeguarding audit, at least on an annual basis, is a great way to monitor practice and identify any new training needs. A good training provider should offer this as part of your training package.
You can meet all of the above standards through the SSS Learning Safeguarding Suite which includes courses and resources authored by safeguarding experts.
SSS Learning Safeguarding Director