Most schools are aware of their duty to provide child protection training, but did you know that you are required to ensure that all members of staff are inducted effectively in child protection at the time when they first join the school? Suzanne O'Connell gives detailed advice on how to structure this training
The matter of child protection training during staff induction can be easy to overlook. The recruitment process can be time-consuming and it is easy for senior leadership members to hand over the new recruit to another member of staff without following up the next stage in their appointment. These difficulties can be even more acute with supply staff. The pressures of the school day can leave them isolated and without the most basic guidance they need.
Such omissions can put staff and pupils at risk, so it is very important that schools put together a staff induction policy which provides clear guidance on school procedures and who is responsible for implementing them. The policy should include information about:
- The principles, code of conduct and ethos of the school
- School organisation
- Roles and responsibilities
- Health and safety
- Communication systems
- Performance management
Safeguarding and child protection
Child protection information should be central to the induction process. It is essential that all members of staff are aware of their own responsibilities, as well as school policy and practice.
Working Together to Safeguard Children (2010) is the latest guidance on this area, which follows on from Lord Laming’s The Protection of Children in England: A Progress Report. Aimed at all children’s services, it emphasises that training and induction are central to helping prevent tragedies from happening. It reminds us that it is up to the employer to ensure that the entire school workforce receive both inter-agency and single-agency training. Training must be available for all staff, including administrators. It is both crucial and mandatory. The document suggests that induction should take place within the first six months of a new appointment being made.
The induction referred to in this ebulletin, however, is that of the Children’s Workforce Development Council (CWDC). This is a highly comprehensive and detailed induction that leads to certification. Although primarily aimed at permanent employees who have time to work through it, schools will also need an additional package of induction that can be offered before appointment, as well as a version for those doing supply work.
The remainder of this article makes suggestions as to how schools might structure their induction training.
Structuring your child protection induction
The stages of induction include:
- Immediately after appointment
- Prior to taking up appointment
- During the first six months
Stage 1: Immediately after appointment
Throughout the appointment process, applicants should be made aware of the school’s commitment to safeguarding and child protection. (‘Safer recruitment training’ (www.cwdcouncil.org.uk) outlines the process of recruitment and the importance of induction once a candidate has been selected.)
Following appointment the successful candidate should be given:
- The staff induction policy
- Name and contact number of their induction mentor
- Child protection/ safeguarding policy
- Health and safety policy
- Equal opportunities policy
- Staff handbook including code of conduct
The school must make sure they have checked:
- The candidate’s identity
- ISA registration
- Right to work in the UK
- Qualifications (original documents)
- Employment history
- Medical fitness
Information should be recorded on the school’s single central record.
Next steps: Agree a date and time for the induction session
Stage 2: Prior to taking up the appointment
Time must be set aside to ensure that the new member of staff (teaching and non-teaching) is properly inducted. This cannot be left to chance and so it is beneficial to book an induction session when the new employee’s line manager can dedicate themselves to ensuring that he/she is:
- familiar with the most important information in the documents they’ve been given
- aware of who to approach if they need further advice and information
- aware of how to identify and raise concerns about the welfare of children.
The line manager should also familiarise themselves with:
- the staff’s previous experience of dealing with child protection issues
- his/ her current level of training and what additional training they should receive.
This information can then be shared with the designated person who can help put in place arrangements for addressing any gaps.
Next steps: The line manager should, with the designated person, draw up a training plan for the new member of staff using the CWDC’s areas of knowledge and learning outcomes.
Stage 3: During the first six months
The CWDC training provides guidance for all children’s services. Standard 6 of the training covers safeguarding and includes:
|Area of knowledge
|Learning outcomes (what staff should know, understand, recognise)
|Laws policies and procedures
|Responding to abuse
|Working with other agencies
|Reporting failures in duty
The training programme should be drawn up taking into account accessibility, timing, the content and the individual’s needs.
Next steps: The line manager and designated person should feel confident that the member of staff has achieved the learning outcomes and can now slot into the school’s child protection training programme for all staff.
Where a member of supply staff is regularly employed by the school or takes on a long-term absence, then every attempt should be made to take them through the full induction process. However, for those only acting as supply for very short periods of time, and/ or arriving in the school on the day they are due to begin work, a summary induction would be more suitable and therefore readily available. This could be in the form of a handout that contains all the basic information that supply staff unfamiliar with the school need to know. This should include:
- The name of the designated person and how they might be contacted
- Summary information about what they should do in the event of a disclosure
- Summary information about what they should do if they have concerns about the welfare of a child
- Details of the link person who will provide them with any specific information about children in the class
- Where they might find more information about recognising sings of abuse
- What they should do if they have concerns about a member of staff, including the headteacher
They should also be given a copy of the child protection policy and staff handbook.
As soon as possible on their first day, a senior member of staff should check with them that they are clear about their responsibilities and understand what procedures there are. They should also check that they have been updated on any specific needs within the classes they are taking.
This e-bulletin issue was first published in April 2010
About the author: Suzanne O'Connell has more than 25 years teaching experience, 11 years of which were as a junior school headteacher. She has a particular interest in special needs, child protection and extended services and is currently a writer, editor and trainer.