Safeguard-Me Blog

Your safe hands are in our safe (training) hands

Out-of-School Settings (OOSS) are fantastic opportunities for children to learn and grow outside of their regular school hours. They encompass a variety of activities provided by organisations and individuals, from extra tuition and sports training to religious education and youth programmes.

Safeguarding training is a particularly crucial provision because children often view these activities as enjoyable and safe environments where they more commonly build strong relationships with the staff, rather than they typically would with their school or college teachers.

A recent DfE-funded pilot programme ‘Oversight of OOSS’ identified a critical gap with 70 mentions of "training," often linked to:

  • A lack of documented evidence for existing training.
  • Heightened risk due to insufficient training.
  • Potential for harm to children as a result of inadequate training.
  • Identified training needs within organisations.

The lack of mandatory safety standards and inconsistent practices detailed within this suggests there is an absolute necessity for safeguarding training among OOSS providers. Their findings also show the need for training to be delivered by accredited providers where a certificate is awarded upon completion.

This makes it absolutely essential for anyone leading these activities to receive adequate safeguarding training, that includes topics such as:

  • Understanding responsibilities
  • Professional boundaries
  • Reporting processes
  • Identifying Indicators of abusive behaviour

What training involves

Safeguarding isn’t just about creating a safe environment; it’s also about knowing what to do if something goes wrong. Unfortunately, safeguarding can sometimes be viewed as a tick box exercise, a requirement to fulfil rather than an essential practice. This view hinders the ability to build an effective safeguarding culture which inevitably leads to heightened anxiety in those who are in a position of responsibility should the worse happen.

Step 1 - Basic Principles

Creating a culture of safeguarding involves implementing robust and regular awareness programmes, encouraging vigilance among all staff and volunteers, and ensuring everyone knows how to report concerns confidently to the appropriate designated safeguarding lead.

Parents, carers or guardians will automatically assume, and understandably so, that their child is attending an organisation / activity where safety is the top most priority. They may also believe it is regulated to the same standard that an educational institution must be. Therefore, by adhering to the essential guidance and adequately managing your safeguarding responsibilities, and evidencing your safeguarding culture, you not only provide an environment where the risk of harm is reduced, but you also increase the attractive appeal of your activity.

Step 2 - Guidance

Guidance such as ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children’, ‘After-school clubs, Community Activities, and 'Tuition Safeguarding Guidance for Providers’, state that “all those working with children should have the knowledge and skills to do so”, therefore emphasising the importance of essential training.

The Charity Commission also provides great resources and guidance to help charities meet safeguarding standards, reinforcing the necessity for all trustees, staff, and volunteers to receive regular safeguarding training.

Step 3 - Implementing Safeguarding Training

Safeguarding training ensures that everyone working or volunteering is equipped to identify and respond to potential safeguarding concerns effectively.

To implement safeguarding training you should follow these steps:

  1. Identify Training Needs: Consider the types of activities offered, the age group of the children, and the specific risks associated with your setting.
  2. Select Appropriate Training Programmes: Choosing safeguarding training programmes that are relevant to your setting. As well as through Safeguard-Me consultants, various other organisations offer accredited training such as the NSPCC tailored for OOSS.
  3. Regular Training and Updates: Safeguarding training should not be a one-time activity. Regular refresher courses and updates throughout the year are essential to ensure that staff and volunteers stay informed about the latest safeguarding practices and legislative changes. This can be presented either in person, via newsletter or email.
  4. Monitor and Evaluate Training Effectiveness: Continuously monitor the effectiveness of the training programmes. Seek feedback from staff and volunteers and make necessary adjustments to improve the training process. Concerns raised and trends identified should seamlessly lead to the development of training sessions. This approach represents a straightforward version of a safeguarding cycle; e.g. report received, concern managed, outcome achieved, process reviewed = Training Development.

It is our belief, based on experience of supporting safeguarding in numerous sectors, that investing in safeguarding training not only protects children but also enhances the credibility and reputation of any organisation. We have found that developing a robust and publicised approach to safeguarding demonstrates a commitment to child welfare and builds trust with parents, carers and guardians, who rely on these settings to provide safe and impactful experiences for their children.

By meeting the necessary requirements for adequate training provision for all staff and volunteers, it acts not just as an educational resource, but just as importantly a hypothetical insurance policy for the whole organisation.

We can support your training needs and any advice or support you might need to provide a safe environment for those in your care. And don't forget our digital platform to record it all!