The importance of safeguarding training
Safeguarding children is one of the most important aspects of childcare and an area that no setting should be getting wrong. The consequences of inadequately trained practitioners can be tremendous with children’s security and well-being being in the firing line if mistakes are made. It is for this reason that Ofsted scrutinises all early years settings on their safeguarding policies, procedures, and training. Slip-ups in this area can lead to a setting dropping their grade and receiving an inadequate status.
What is safeguarding?
Safeguarding in early years is protecting children from any forms of abuse at home and within the setting. It is crucial practitioners can identify the signs of abuse and to be able to deal promptly with the situation in a way that isn’t going to cause further problems. Any adult who comes into contact with the children throughout the day including practitioners and students must know the correct procedures to safeguard children. Management is responsible for ensuring everyone who is in direct contact with children is safe to work with children through carrying out the necessary DBS checks and completing a single central record. They must also create the safeguarding policies updating when appropriate and ensuring all practitioners and students are aware of the procedures that must be followed. These procedures are in place to protect children and adults.
What safeguarding training should practitioners undertake and when?
It is the managers responsibility to ensure necessary safeguarding checks are carried out, these checks should form part of the settings robust safer recruitment process. Upon completion of necessary checks, safeguarding training should be undertaken by the employee to ensure they are fully competent in for filling their role and responsibilities.
Types of safeguarding checks and training:
- DBS checks – Although these are not safeguarding training they should be completed before any childcare practitioner is left alone with the children. It ensures practitioners are who they say they are and that they are safe to work with children
- Single Central Records – These should be kept up to date and reviewed regularly. These keep all the information needed about each member of staff including DBS numbers
- Induction training – This should happen before any practitioners or students begin working with the children. This should inform practitioners of who the settings designated lead is and what they should do should they have any concerns regarding a child’s welfare. This should include not discussing the event with anyone other than the designated lead, completing relevant paperwork normally a green form and then handing this over to the designated lead. All practitioners should also be aware that if they still have concerns and do not agree with the discussion made by the designated lead that they can contact the local authority safeguarding switch board to report the incident themselves. New practitioners should be informed of the correct process to take if they have a concern over another practitioner or student. This is usually detailed in a whistle blowing policy and is another way of safeguarding children.
- Local Authority Safeguarding training – It is now a requirement that all practitioners attend a specific safeguarding training course. This should happen as soon as a course becomes available. This should be detailed on practitioners individual training record so management can keep track of who is due the training and when. This refreshes practitioners on all the signs and symptoms of abuse so it can be identified, how to deal with a disclosure and other areas of safeguarding a child.
- Designated Lead – For a person, usually the manager, to become a designated lead they must attend a more in-depth safeguarding training course. A person cannot be classed as a designated lead until this training has taken place. Every setting must have their designated lead who is in charge of dealing with any safeguarding issues.
- Regular practitioner training workshops – It is a good idea to hold regular workshops for practitioners to remind them of any company policies and procedures. These can be used to ensure every practitioner is aware of the safeguarding procedures held by the setting and how they should deal with any concerns. This is important if there are any changes such as a newly designated lead being assigned to the setting.
Safeguarding children are one of the practitioner’s most important roles and should always be a top priority. Completing induction training is one of the most effective ways to ensure all practitioners are aware of safeguarding policies, procedures and their duty of care to the children.