Safeguarding essentials: advice and resources for staff

Safeguarding is everyone's responsibility. Use these resources to make sure that all staff are up to date on their responsibilities and alert to potential incidents

 Although every school will appoint a designated safeguarding lead (DSL) to oversee child protection and safeguarding matters, all staff have an equal responsibility to:

  • uphold the school's policy for child protection and safeguarding
  • set a good example by conducting themselves appropriately
  • be alert to any indications that a child is at risk of harm
  • provide a safe and supportive environment for pupils.

One of the DSL's primary responsibilities is to make sure that all staff receive appropriate and timely safeguarding and child protection updates, so that they are equipped with the knowledge and skills they need to keep children safe.

Explain your child protection and safeguarding policy

Whether you're training a new or more experienced member of staff, the first step is to make sure that they understand what is set out in the school's child protection and safeguarding policy, and can access a copy.

Download our model policy template and use the corresponding quiz to test your colleagues' understanding.

'Keeping children safe in education' (KCSIE)

KCSIE 2021 is available from the DfE, and should be implemented from September 2021. Read about some of the key changes for school leaders

Safeguarding and Covid-19

The coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic and its ongoing consequences have compelled schools and colleges to approach safeguarding in new ways.

In January 2021, The Children's Commissioner stated the need 'to be urgently and proactively working' to prevent at-risk children from becoming 'invisible to the system' as a result of extended time at home.

Domestic abuse and violence is reported to have increased with more time being spent at home. Read about how to raise awareness of domestic abuse in the classroom, and what to do if you suspect that a child has been impacted by it.

Even when the majority of pupils are back on site, schools must ensure appropriate child protection arrangements are in place for both those in school and those at home.

The annex to the child protection policy sets out details of safeguarding arrangements to tailor to your setting in the event of such disruption happening again.

Our dedicated Schools and Covid-19 page is regularly updated with guidance and resources relating to all aspects of the impact of the pandemic on schools.

Recognising peer-on-peer abuse

All staff have a role to play in responding to allegations of peer-on-peer abuse. Children are capable of being the perpetrators and victims of abuse, so nothing should be dismissed as 'banter' or 'a part of growing up' without proper investigation.

Use our examples to make sure that all members of staff are confident in identifying signs of abuse, and responding to any disclosures a pupil may come forward to make.

The ‘Everyone’s Invited’ movement has focused attention on how schools deal with reports of child-on-child assault and harassment. Specialist education lawyers Browne Jacobson have produced guidance on showing how you are creating a safe, open and inclusive environment.

Child sexual exploitation and child criminal exploitation

Child sexual exploitation (CSE) occurs when a young person is coerced, manipulated or deceived into sexual activity in exchange for a reward. CSE can affect any child or young person under the age of 18 years, and can still be abuse even if the sexual activity appears consensual.

The Sexual exploitation and grooming training course focuses on both safeguarding pupils and developing a whole-school framework to tackle the issues.

Get equipped to bust some myths around CSE and identify risk factors that can make a child vulnerable to sexual exploitation.

Child criminal exploitation (CCE), sometimes known as 'county lines' activity, is an emerging trend whereby children are used to smuggle drugs and money from one area to another. The warning signs can be similar to other forms of abuse and exploitation, and is often accompanied by violence or threats of violence.

In our article on identifying child sexual and criminal exploitation, Abi Clay provides some hypothetical examples, questions to prompt and important things to remember.

Online safety

Keeping children safe from harm has become increasing difficult in a digital age, but all staff should be expected to know how the school promotes online safety as part of its broader safeguarding ethos. 

Our online safety model policy can be adapted to suit your setting's circumstances. It includes an incident form, for recording any instances of inappropriate online behaviour.

The downladable A to Z of e-safety poster to educate both staff and pupils about online safety considerations.

You can also refer to our guide to the legal implications of sexting, and to our guidance on what to do after a disclosure of sexting, to make sure that all staff are confident in getting the message across. 

Recording and reporting concerns

A school must have clear procedures in place for recording, reporting and responding to child protection concerns. All members of staff should know how to report concerns about a pupil, to whom, what to write down and who else to notify.

Adele Bates shares an 11-step plan for preparing for, and dealing with, disclosures.

Staff should also be aware of how the school can refer a child protection concern to children's social care services. Share our prompt sheet to make sure that you gather all the important information, and refer to our advice for making an effective referral.

Safeguarding and religious/cultural differences

Being a DSL requires bravery and resilience even at the best of times, but safeguarding children and young people whose families observe especially different cultural and religious practices is often no mean feat.

When acting on concerns, it's vital that the DSL prioritise their duty to keep children and young people safe.

  • Never allow any form of abuse to take place in the guise of religious or cultural practice.
  • Never allow families to pressure or intimidate you into abandoning your safeguarding policies and procedures.
  • If you feel uncomfortable for any reason, remember that colleagues are there to support you.

Our advice to the DSL includes a case study concerning the use of 'prayer ties'.

Safeguarding training

The government’s guidance on safeguarding states that ‘all staff should receive appropriate safeguarding and child protection training which is regularly updated'.

A culture of safeguarding is everyone's responsibility, and staff should proactively query practices and ask for reviews where necessary.

The DSL should make sure that staff understand child protection updates and are aware of changes to relevant legislation, via both formal and refresher training.

You can help all staff to receive the necessary training via our online Safeguarding Whole-school Study Programme, which is available in both group study and self-study formats.


Last Updated: 
09 Sep 2021