Staff safeguarding training

Child protection and safeguarding is the responsibility of every member of staff. Give them the skills and knowledge they need to keep pupils safe with regular updates and training

Author details

Lisa Griffin is content lead at Optimus Education, focusing on leadership and governance. 

A culture of safeguarding is one where the safety of pupils is on the forefront of everyone’s minds and is everyone’s responsibility. Staff should query when things don’t seem right or if they’re unsure of legislation changes or updates.

A safeguarding culture is one which continually questions and improves. Staff should be asking when safeguarding training is happening, when policies are being updated etc.

If a serious incident occurs lessons must be learned from it with a review of policies and procedures to put in place measures to prevent the same thing happening again.

Who leads the training?

Keeping Children Safe in Education guidance states that the DSL should take responsibility for child protection and safeguarding training.

As part of safeguarding training for staff, DSLs should ensure:

  • child protection policies are known, understood, followed and accessible
  • child protection policies are reviewed annually (at least) and safeguarding procedures are reviewed regularly.

The DSL and any deputies should undergo training to provide them with the knowledge and skills required to carry out their role. This training should be updated at least every two years.

As well as formal training at least every other year, refresher training should be regularly updated (at least once a year). This could include but is not limited to:

  • networking with other DSLs
  • keeping up to date with changing legislation
  • attending child protection training/events.

Pupils and parents should know who the DSL is should they need to talk to them. Think about the different ways you could inform them, such as in assemblies, having posters on display in school or in communications home.

Effective staff training is an ongoing process of keeping everyone up to date with from initial induction, annual review and regular updates.

How often?

The guidance states that all staff should receive child protection and safeguarding training which is regularly updated. As well as this, all staff should receive updates as required, and at least annually. These could be via email or in staff meetings.

New staff will need a safeguarding induction. The DSL will deliver this, which could include:

  • an introduction to the DSL and their role in the school
  • an introduction to any deputies and how their cover works should the DSL be unavailable when a concern arises
  • a simple questionnaire to be completed by each new member of staff so that the DSL can ascertain an overview of their knowledge, skills and understanding of their role in safeguarding pupils.

The DSL will need to keep records of staff training to show who has received what. Keep these records separate from other information such as the single central record. If the record contains only essential information, it should be straightforward to maintain.

What type of training?

It’s important to ensure you have the right training for the right people, at the right time, in the right format.

People learn differently so think about different formats for your staff training. It’s worth including staff in your planning if you can and asking what works for them.

You could use webinars, presentations, Q&As or safeguarding leaflets, for example. Allow plenty of space for staff to be able to ask questions  to help their understanding.

What works?

  • What’s best for learning?
  • What’s reliable and digestible?
  • Which format is best for sharing?
  • Which format is best for large groups?
  • Which format is best for smaller groups?

What needs to be covered?

The aim of the annual safeguarding training is to ensure that all staff are up to date with current safeguarding guidance and have a thorough understanding of your policies and procedures.

So, 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 where to find a copy.

You should also provide a copy of other relevant school policies and part one of KCSIE. Explain why these documents are so important and how they will help staff in their duty to safeguard pupils.

Staff should know, understand and use child protection policies appropriately and know that they have a duty to act on concerns. Relevant policies include:

After policies, an update on current guidance and any changes or additions over the past year would be useful. This could include:

  • their role in recognising signs of abuse and neglect
  • what to do if a child discloses to you
  • informing the DSL of their concerns
  • recording and reporting concerns
  • how CP files are stored and who has access
  • the school’s role in managing allegations against staff.

How do you evidence outcomes?

Leading the training is the first step. Once it’s been undertaken, you’ll need to be able to evidence staff learning.

You’ll have a record of who attended the training but that shows nothing more than who was present – and it’s not enough. Outcomes need to be measured to show that the training was understood by staff.

Quizzes and surveys can be good for evidencing results because you have a record of the questions asked and answers given. Use true/false or yes/no questions to keep a quiz simple and review what staff got right and wrong to identify any gaps in knowledge.

Great training is little help if staff don’t understand and remember it and great policies are no use if they are not disseminated effectively. If you let staff know a policy has been updated by sending them an email, how do you know they’ve read it?

  • How do you evidence that policies are known?
  • How do you evidence policy understanding?
  • How do you evidence that staff know where to find policies?
  • How do you evidence appropriate use of policies?

Consider randomly picking a group of staff, at different points in the school year, and asking them to complete 10 questions based on your school’s policy. Or you could host regular Q&A sessions in your staff meetings.

Acting on outcomes

Once you identify where knowledge gaps are you can fill them. A pattern of right or wrong answers may highlight that a particular training format needs changing, or a topic covered needs clarity among staff.

A quiz may have highlighted that several staff are unsure of where to find a policy or what to do if they have a safeguarding concern and the DSL is not on school premises.

You could follow up with a session on reporting concerns and how to contact both the DSL and deputy DSL, and finish with some questions to check staff now have a better understanding.

In doing so, you have evidence of outcomes, evidence of actions taken as a result of outcomes and evidence of increased staff understanding after filling knowledge gaps.

With thanks to Dai Durbridge.

Last Updated: 
27 Jan 2020