You are here:

Last reviewed on 30 October 2020
Ref: 735
School types: All · School phases: All

All staff should have safeguarding and child protection training. Find out what this should include, and how this differs for the DSL, headteachers, governors and volunteers. Use our Safeguarding Training Centre to help you save time and stay compliant.

30 October 2020: we reviewed this article to check it’s still up to date. None of the training requirements have changed.

Read our summary of the changes to KCSIE that came into effect on 1 September 2020.

All staff

All staff should undergo safeguarding and child protection training at induction 

It doesn’t have to be formal face-to-face training, and can include online learning. 

This training should: 

  • Include online safety
  • Be updated regularly 
  • Be in line with advice from the local 3 safeguarding partners (the LA, a clinical commissioning group for the area in the LA, and the chief of police for the area in the LA)
  • Give staff an awareness of the school's safeguarding systems, including: 
    • The child protection policy
    • The behaviour policy
    • The safeguarding response to children going missing from education
    • The staff behaviour policy/code of conduct
    • The role and identity of the designated safeguarding lead (DSL) and any deputies 

In addition, you should make sure that all staff: 

  • Are aware of their local early help process and understand their role in it
  • Are aware of the process for making referrals to children’s social care and for statutory assessments under the Children Act 1989
  • Know what to do if a child tells them they're being abused or neglected
  • Know the indicators that may signal that children are at risk from, or are involved with, serious violent crime, be aware of the associated risks and understand the measures in place to manage them
  • Are familiar with your school's whistle-blowing procedures

You should provide staff with copies of the child protection, behaviour, and staff behaviour policies and a copy of part 1 of Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSIE) at induction. All staff must read at least part 1 of the guidance.

Our INSET pack and elearning on safeguarding essentials, available to members of Safeguarding Training Centre from The Key, can help you deliver safeguarding training effectively. They cover the key points from part 1 of KCSIE that your staff need to know. 

How and when to provide safeguarding updates to staff 

You should regularly update all your staff members on child protection and safeguarding. Regularly here means "as required, and at least annually".

You can update staff via, for example, email, e-bulletins and staff meetings. The updates should provide staff with the skills and knowledge they need to safeguard pupils effectively.

This is explained in Keeping Children Safe in Education (see pages 5 to 17). 

Prevent duty training: it’s not statutory, but it’s important 

It's important for staff to have Prevent training, to enable them to identify children at risk of being drawn into terrorism and to challenge extremist ideas. 

Your designated safeguarding lead (DSL) should be able to advise and support staff in protecting children from the risk of radicalisation.

It's up to you as a school to decide how much training on Prevent your staff need, by evaluating what your staff already know and the risks that radicalisation poses to your pupils.

Read more about your responsibilities under the Prevent strategy

If you're a member of Safeguarding Training Centre from The Key, use our elearning – it covers everything your staff need to know about the Prevent duty and what's expected of them. 

The DSL 

Before becoming the designated safeguarding lead (DSL), or a deputy, you should complete training that provides you with the knowledge and skills to perform the role. If you're joining a newly established school, such as a free school, you must complete the training before the school opens.

This training should be updated every 2 years. You should also update your knowledge and skills "at regular intervals, but at least annually".

These updates can include:

  • E-bulletins
  • Meetings with other DSLs
  • Taking time to read and digest safeguarding developments

What training should cover 

DSL training should help you to: 

  • Understand the assessment process for providing early help and intervention, for example through locally agreed assessment processes
  • Have a working knowledge of how LAs conduct child protection case conferences and child protection review conferences, and attend and contribute to these effectively when required
  • Ensure each member of staff has access to and understands the school’s child protection policy and procedures, especially new and part-time staff
  • Be alert to the specific needs of children in need, those with special educational needs (SEN) and young carers
  • Understand relevant data protection legislation and regulations, especially the Data Protection Act 2018 and the GDPR
  • Understand the importance of information sharing, both within your school, and with the 3 safeguarding partners and other agencies
  • Be able to keep detailed, accurate, secure written records of concerns and referrals
  • Understand and support the school with regards to the requirements of the Prevent duty, and be able to provide advice and support to staff on protecting children from the risk of radicalisation
  • Understand the unique risks associated with online safety, and be confident you have the knowledge and capability to keep children safe while online at school
  • Recognise the additional risks that children with SEN and disabilities (SEND) face online, and be confident you have the capability to support SEND children to stay safe online
  • Obtain access to resources and attend any relevant or refresher training courses
  • Encourage a culture of listening to children and taking account of their wishes and feelings, among all staff, in any measures the school may put in place to protect them

This is explained in Keeping Children Safe in Education (pages 98 to 100). 

Read more about the role of the DSL


In primary schools it would be good practice for the headteacher to be trained to the same level as the DSL. This is because primary schools often have smaller leadership teams, and the headteacher may be more involved in dealings with parents and other agencies.  

In secondary schools, the headteacher should have more training than an ordinary staff member, but this wouldn't necessarily need to be to the same level as the DSL. They need to be on top of things and should do some wider reading, so they’re equipped to discuss issues with the DSL if needed.

However, it would be good practice for at least one other member of the senior leadership team in a secondary school to be trained to the same level as the school’s DSL. While this could be the headteacher, it might be more appropriate for this to be a member of the SLT who's doing work on specific areas of leadership like attendance or pastoral care.

Headteachers in both primary and secondary schools should have training in managing allegations against staff. Headteachers will be the case manager if an allegation is made (see page 58 of Keeping Children Safe in Education), so need to be confident in how to handle this.

If you're a headteacher, you should also have training on:

  • Safer recruitment, to be able to recruit in a way which makes sure you can filter out anyone who'd be unsuitable (see the last section of this article) 
  • Equal opportunities, and schools’ responsibilities under the Equality Act 2010 – there’s a crossover with safeguarding here in terms of understanding the implications of the legislation

As KCSIE doesn't specifically refer to safeguarding training for headteachers, we’d like to thank our associate education expert Gulshan Kayembe for her help with this section.

Governors and trustees

Every governor and trustee should have safeguarding training. This is set out on page 93 of the Governance Handbook.  

Chairs of governors should also have training on handling allegations against staff, as they will be the case manager in the event of an allegation against the headteacher or principal. Our associate expert Gulshan Kayembe advised this. 


It's up to you to decide whether volunteers need safeguarding training.

You should take "a proportionate, risk-based approach" to determining what level of information to give volunteers and temporary staff on induction (see paragraph 65 of Keeping Children Safe in Education). 

Safer recruitment 

It's a legal requirement for maintained schools to ensure that at least one of the people conducting an interview has done safer recruitment training. It's best practice for academies to also adhere to this. 

The requirement is set out in regulation 9 of the School Staffing (England) Regulations 2009.

This training should cover the content of Keeping Children Safe in Education as a minimum, but you should seek advice from your 3 local safeguarding partners about what it should cover in your area and how often you should refresh it (see paragraph 100 of Keeping Children Safe in Education). 

Training providers may also stipulate whether their certificates expire, and if so, how often they should be refreshed. You should check how long your certificate remains valid with your provider. 

Regardless of whether there is an expiry date on your certificate, it is good practice for you to regularly review your knowledge every 2 or 3 years.

This was explained to us by Jacqueline Baker, one of our associate education experts.

If you're a member of Safeguarding Training Centre from The Key, you can use our elearning course on safer recruitment to meet this requirement.


Gulshan Kayembe is an independent consultant who has experience of inspecting schools. As a consultant, she provides mentoring for senior leaders and has worked as an external adviser on headteachers’ performance management.

Jacqueline Baker is an education consultant who specialises in senior leadership recruitment. She supports schools through the recruitment process and helps them develop leadership capacity. Jacqueline also has experience as a chair of a governing body. 

More from The Key


Bitesize training with a big impact

Our on-demand training has your whole board covered and lets them learn at a time and pace that suits them.

Help your new governors hit the ground running with our expertly-designed induction training, and our role-specific courses support your link governors develop key skills and confidence in their role.


Upskill your staff, any time, anywhere with CPD Toolkit. 

 The most effective way to deliver engaging virtual training to support the professional development of your staff. 

Downloadable courses and 5-minute online summaries provide flexibility for training, whether staff are participating in-school, via video call or independently at their own pace.

The Key has taken great care in publishing this article. However, some of the article's content and information may come from or link to third party sources whose quality, relevance, accuracy, completeness, currency and reliability we do not guarantee. Accordingly, we will not be held liable for any use of or reliance placed on this article's content or the links or downloads it provides. This article may contain information sourced from public sector bodies and licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.