When you are conducting your review of safeguarding processes and procedures, it is a good idea to also look at the training needs of your staff and team.

This is good for 3 reasons:

  1. You understand what training everyone needs
  2. You can ensure relevant training is being undertaken
  3. You can assure Ofsted (or other inspecting body) training is and has been done which meets statutory requirements and the needs of your service.


When undertaking a review of your organisation’s training needs, there are 5 areas to consider:

  1. Your training needs as DSL
  2. Training and development needs of the wider organisation community
  3. What level of knowledge is required?
  4. Where do you source your training?
  5. What are the timescales for training to be completed?


Let’s look at each of these in turn.


Your training needs as DSL

The role of DSL is complex and multifaceted. The requirements of the role will change depending on your organisation and structure.

A great place to start reviewing your training needs is with Keeping Children Safe in Education. Annex B sets out the requirements of the role in detail. It states that:

Training should provide designated safeguarding leads with a good understanding of their own role, and the processes, procedures and responsibilities of other agencies, particularly children’s social care, so they:

• understand the assessment process for providing early help and statutory intervention, including local criteria for action and local authority children’s social care referral arrangements.

• have a working knowledge of how local authorities conduct a child protection case conference and a child protection review conference and be able to attend and contribute to these effectively when required to do so;

• ensure each member of staff has access to, and understands, the school’s or college’s child protection policy and procedures, especially new and part time staff;

• are alert to the specific needs of children in need, those with special educational needs and young carers;

• understand relevant data protection legislation and regulations, especially the Data Protection Act 2018 and the General Data Protection Regulation;

• understand the importance of information sharing, both within the school and college, and with the three safeguarding partners, other agencies, organisations and practitioners;

• are able to keep detailed, accurate, secure written records of concerns and referrals;

• understand and support the school or college with regards to the requirements of the Prevent duty and are able to provide advice and support to staff on protecting children from the risk of radicalisation;

• are able to understand the unique risks associated with online safety and be confident that they have the relevant knowledge and up to date capability required to keep children safe whilst they are online at school or college;

• can recognise the additional risks that children with SEN and disabilities (SEND) face online, for example, from online bullying, grooming and radicalisation and are confident they have the capability to support SEND children to stay safe online;

• obtain access to resources and attend any relevant or refresher training courses; and

• encourage a culture of listening to children and taking account of their wishes and feelings, among all staff, in any measures the school or college may put in place to protect them.

KCSiE 2020

Whilst there is no set amount of Continuing Professional Development set by the government guidance, I recommend DSL’s undertake 35 hours of CPD

Consider if:

  1. this is something you and your fellow DSLs are completing;
  2. your CPD is relevant to the requirements of your role;
  3.  it meets the standards required by your governing body.


Training and development needs of the wider organisation community

Depending on your organisation, there may be a number of other staff and roles which have a level of safeguarding included within them. For example:

  • Security
  • Estates
  • HR
  • Apprenticeship managers
  • Welfare/Wellbeing teams
  • Pastoral
  • Outreach
  • Community based teams

to name a few.

Take time to review each area of your organisation to understand the roles each area is undertaking and whether there are any safeguarding elements to it. From here you can determine how in-depth the training needs to be and whether or not it can be covered in-house.

This is important to ensure all staff are trained to the appropriate level. It will also assist to embed better safeguarding practices and cultures.  It only takes one person to not understands why and what they need to do, for there to be a difficulty with your safeguarding practices and leave a young person, staff or organisation at risk.


What level of knowledge is required?

This will depend upon the role.

Under Keeping Children Safe in Education, all staff must read Part 1.

Reading Part 1 is beneficial for all staff working with those under the age of 18 years old, regardless of sector.

After that consider:

  • How in depth does that knowledge need to be?
  • How much information do they need?
  • What level do they need to obtain?


Think back to your risk assessment(s) for the various activities your organisation undertakes:

  • What do you need to put in place?
  • How do you mitigate any risks coming out of this?
  • What level of training is going to satisfy you that the risks have been mitigated?


Where do you source your training?

In some organisations, there will be a broad enough staff & knowledge base which can be tapped into.

You may have someone suitable internally, who is able to provide training which will allow the majority of staff to be trained in-house.

What if you don’t have anyone internally? Maybe you don’t have that level of skill in your organization.

You have to look at external resources.

When you’re looking at external resources, there are a few things to consider.

  • Do you want training to be bespoke for you and deliver training related to you and your setting?
  • Are you looking for an open course, or something you can send staff to?
  • Are you looking at an E learning package?
  • What level/depth of training are you looking for?

Whatever your choice, there are some due diligence checks you will need to do.

  • Do they actually know what it is you need to understand?
  • Are their trainers qualified to train/teach?
  • Do the trainers have a working/practical knowledge of the subject they deliver?
  • Can they deliver at the level you require?

Lots of organizations will say that they can do a whole host of things. But their trainers perhaps aren’t as recent in role or maybe not as clued up on the circumstances as you may have hoped to think about your learner’s styles as well.

Every learner will learn differently, your staff are no exception. If you are looking for somebody who can facilitate training in a way that allows everybody to learn, there is nothing worse than being invited into what you’re hoping to be really interesting and insightful training, moved into an online format because of the current climate, only to find that you are sitting there for a five hour session with 1 15 minute break in the middle.

And you are lectured out through a series of PowerPoint slides.

That is horrendous in a face to face situation. It’s even worse in an online situation.

Ask your facilitators/training providers:

  • how they intend to deliver the training?
  • What are the styles that they’re able to opt in?
  • Do they have plenty of breaks?
  • Do they have plenty of activities?
  • Do they have lots of interactivity, and can they make sure that everybody understands or gets and has the ability to learn from that particular session?

Good companies & good trainers will work with you in order to deliver a course/programme/event that meets your needs. Great ones can guide you on what you will need to cover and help you see how it fits into your structure and obligations.

What are the timescales for training to be completed?

Good training is not designed or delivered overnight.

Your staff and team will have commitments they need to meet and may not be able to make sudden or last minute diary changes.

Do you know when your staff/team need to update their statutory training?

Most organisations have this in place. Inside the Safeguarding Leaders Hub, we ask our members when they join about their training dates. This means we can remind them of upcoming needs, and also reserve places on Designated Safeguarding Lead refresher training (included in their subscription) for them so they don’t need to worry about it.

Also consider any upcoming events. Outreach, community, recruitment etc. Consider what, if any, training or upskilling in knowledge is needed by those running the event  or ny previous issues which have occurred where staff may need further training or support.

Consider, as well, if you have more senior staff, who normally are able to manage safeguarding cases , but who may now have either retired or are planning to retiring. They may have moved to another role. You have the right policies and procedures in place, but, on the ground, your skill level has dropped.

The important thing to remember is safeguarding should sit right at the heart of everything you do. Everything, thereafter, needs to orbit nicely around your safeguarding processes and policies.

If you would like a conversation about your training needs and what you may need to consider, book a strategic safeguarding session with me.

Book Strategic Safeguarding Session


Watch my video on this subject from a previous Safeguarding Focus Week


Want more?

Want to keep on top of your safeguarding obligations, join Kate and other child protection professionals in The Safeguarding Association community.

Join my open Safeguarding Hub for DSL’s 


Now you know more about the different types of abuse, learn what the various stages of child protection look like in my short course: Overview of Child Protection Stages


Already working as a DSL in tertiary education and looking for quality training relevant to your sector and role? Complete the contact form below or look at my open courses here


Content Disclaimer

The information contained above is provided for information purposes only. The contents of this blog are not intended to amount to advice and you should not rely on any of the contents of this blog. Professional advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from taking any action as a result of the contents of this blog. Safeguarding Practitioners Ltd & Kate Young disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on any of the contents of this blog.

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