Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) Interim Report 2018 released.

The interim findings of the IICSA published in April 2018 are now available. The interim report, focused on child sexual abuse in Rochdale from the early 1960s to mid-1990s, examines placements of children made by Rochdale Council with particular regard to the institutional responses of the council, police and the Crown Prosecution Service. The report describes the former leader of Rochdale Council, Richard Farnell’s refusal to accept responsibility for events described in the enquiry as ‘shameful’. (Farnell resigned weeks after giving evidence to the Inquiry). The findings, which highlight how council-run establishments failed to keep children safe from harm, found staff at Knowl View school complacent and arguably complicit. Following evidence given re the sexual abuse at Cambridge House Boys’ Hostel, the report also details lost opportunities in recognising and prosecuting the then Rochdale MP Cyril Smith, also Honorary Secretary of the hostel, in relation to allegations of sexual abuse. Recommendation is also made that the HM Government ratify the Council of Europe Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse, known as the Lanzarote Convention, and that that steps should be taken to make the UK fully compliant by June 2018.

The full report can be accessed at:

https://www.iicsa.org.uk/key-documents/5368/view/Full%20Interim%20 Report%20of%20the%20Independent%20Inquiry%20into%20Child%20 Sexual%20Abuse.pdf

Here are the relevant online courses we provide that relate to this article:

To find out more about our Child Sexual Exploitation course click here

To find out about our Safeguarding Suite click here

Domestic Abuse Consultation to close shortly

The Domestic Abuse Consultation sets out HM Government’s approach to dealing with domestic abuse. Seeking to address this abuse at every stage from prevention, this consultation is wide-ranging seeking views on both legislative proposals and a package of practical action. The consultation questions cover four main themes with the central aim of prevention running through each, namely:

  • promote awareness – to put domestic abuse at the top of everyone’s agenda, and raise public and professionals’ awareness;
  • protect and support – to enhance the safety of victims and the support that they receive;
  • pursue and deter – to provide an effective response to perpetrators from initial agency response through to conviction and management of offenders, including rehabilitation;
  • improve performance – to drive consistency and better performance in the response to domestic abuse across all local areas, agencies and sectors.

The consultation, which closes on 31st May 2018 can be accessed at https://consult.justice.gov.uk/homeoffice-moj/domestic-abuse-consultation/

Here are the relevant online courses we provide that relate to this article:

To find out about our Safeguarding Suite click here

National CSE Awareness Day: our schools deserve a promotion

To stamp out Child Sexual Exploitation, we must involve all agencies which are influencing the lives of children and young people. So, the HM Government proposal to focus its latest Keeping children safe in education guidance around a strengthened tri-partnership between local authorities, healthcare services and the police, highlights a huge missed opportunity in including education as a key partner.


Omitting educationalists as key partners is unfathomable, and a decision I believe should be reconsidered if we are to benefit from a truly multi-agency approach to safeguarding.

This news comes off the back of an extremely worrying year for safeguarding in the UK. In the past month alone, we’ve witnessed the disturbing historical sexual abuse allegations uncovered in Telford and received news that child sex crime allegations have reached a record high in the UK. In almost 14,000 cases, the complainant was aged 10 or under, with 2,788 of the alleged offences perpetrated against children aged four or under.

The consultation on changes to Keeping children safe in education closed in February. The new guidance on how to deal with sexual assaults and sexual harassment committed by children on other children is a very positive step, however, I sincerely hope that the consultation will provide greater clarification of the individual roles and responsibilities of each agency, particularly schools, together with how multi-agency liaison will be improved.


Reflecting on the past 12 months, it is clear there is a real necessity this year to invest in learning and professional development to inform practice on the changes in legislation and guidance and development in the ways children and their abusers are accessing information and interacting.

The online world, for example, is constantly evolving, presenting new safeguarding challenges, so it is critical that every frontline professional working with children has the most up-to-date effective training to safeguard children and young people.

Ahead of National CSE Awareness Day, I’m championing the critical role all educational settings play in child protection and making the case for education’s place as an official partner in the government strategy. Let’s embrace this expertise in prevention and management of those at risk.

Daily contact

Outside of family life, school is where children spend the most time and where many trusting relationships are built between children and adults. Teachers have deep knowledge of each child’s behaviour and are in the strongest position to detect if a child displays worrying signs something isn’t right or if they are being negatively affected by social circumstances.

Early intervention

Daily contact with pupils, combined with quality safeguarding training and CPD, sees schools identifying and managing low level safeguarding concerns daily. Early intervention is critical to child protection and schools contribute significantly to this process.

Official attendance

Once in the education system, non-attendance is officially recorded and flagged. In some families where abuse is occurring, we see disengagement with health services – from missed doctor’s appointments and vaccinations, or visits to the dentist. Parents are legally bound to send their children to school, so any change in the norm is quickly identified and intervention can take place.

A trusted ear

For many children being abused, their safe place is not at home. Educational settings provide stability for these children, a safe place where there is routine and support from someone they can trust. In many cases they are a lifeline for abused children.

Contact with families

In addition to ensuring academic progress, effective schools develop partnerships with parents and others to support the learning process, nurturing self-esteem and confidence in young people. While ‘hard to reach’ parents pose a significant challenge, schools have some of the strongest strategies for nurturing positive parental engagement.

Staying relevant in a (very) ‘different’ online world

Every teacher and parent out there will know that uncomfortable feeling that washes over you the first time a teenager or child knows more about the subject we’re challenging them with, than we do. Cue the rolled eyes and feet shuffling (and that’s just us adults!). A natural part of evolution some might say, however, in the case of the online world, this puts us in grave danger of disengaging young people and our e-safety advice falling on deaf ears.

The digital divide between adults and young people is ever widening, and not simply in the language and technologies they are using, but also in their knowledge of IT infrastructure and how to circumvent the ‘system’ to access the latest apps, games and subsequent dangers.

400 to 550 times larger than the public internet we all know and access, the dark web is a worrying example of where children and young people are using their technological knowledge to ‘meet’ virtually undetected. Used to describe a section of the internet which offers the person viewing, and the websites that they view, total anonymity, young people are accessing the dark web to prevent parents and teachers from monitoring their online activity.

Demonstrating advanced IT skills, children as young as 12 are using special Tor browsers to do this, which wrap every bit of the information request sent out to the internet in multiple layers of encryption. The Mirror’s shocking headline ‘Children as young as 12 use dark web to deal in cocaine, MDMA and ketamine with cryptocurrencies’ just last month is evidence of this we cannot afford to ignore.

The fear of children and young people accessing the dark web has been further amplified by the forthcoming age-checks on porn sites which comes into force this May. Whilst Ministers say the move is part of a plan to make the UK “the safest place in the world for children to be online”, the new requirement for people to prove they are 18 before accessing UK websites, some fear could push children towards the dark web and exposure to illegal activities and more extreme material.

And it’s not just hidden platforms that young people are now manipulating to keep their online lives a secret. Experts have recently warned of a worrying new finsta trend whereby teenagers are creating fake Instagram accounts to torment their peers. This has seen young teenager’s personal details shared online and harmful words written by the impersonators to damage children’s reputations.

Research conducted by Digital Awareness UK and HMC recently revealed that 45 per cent of teenagers check their phones in bed and 23 per cent checked as many as 10 times during the night. Almost all (94 per cent) of these students are on social media after going to bed. So, as practitioners, how can we stay abreast of the latest trends, technologies and terminology young people are using online and provide them with the right and relevant information during the school day?

We fully support last year’s research findings from BESA (British Educational Suppliers’ Association) which prompted a call for e-safety to be a part of every teacher’s ongoing CPD. Its survey of more than 1,300 ICT lead teachers in schools showed that 51 per cent of teachers in their primary schools, and 49 per cent in secondaries, “need training in e-safety issues”.

Reported in the TES, Patrick Hayes, director at BESA said there was no “silver bullet” to solve the problem, but e-safety should be a part of every teacher’s CPD so they can keep up with an area that changes rapidly.

Schools and academies play a key role in promoting and ensuring e-safety. As such, e-safety training should be a key element of every school or academy safeguarding training remit. The digital world is an ever-changing environment and it is vital for training to keep pace with IT infrastructure and progress. Therefore, it is critical that governance, staff and volunteers have a clear understanding of this topic to effectively safeguard themselves, the organisation, pupils, staff and visitors.

In SSS Learning’s latest e-safety course you will learn about:

  • Potential internet related threats.
  • The development of e-safety procedures in accordance the legislative framework.
  • How to implement effective controls on the use of the school network and the internet.
  • Measures to ensure that all stakeholders use technology in accordance to school e-safety policies.
  • How to allow the benefits of the internet to be enjoyed whilst protecting the e-safety of students and staff from the dangers of the internet.

To find out more, visit: https://ssscpd.co.uk/e-safety/

Educators: the unsung heroes of International Women’s Day

To mark International Women’s Day, I want to celebrate those who work tirelessly every, single, day, with thousands of girls and young women to protect them from abuse and neglect and make determined steps towards gender equality and parity. This is a time to celebrate achievements; to look at how far we’ve come, how far we must go, and what we’ve learned along the way.


Let’s celebrate those that take safeguarding as seriously as teaching the curriculum, those that strive to learn all they can about abusive behaviour and how to spot it, and those that are an ear, sometimes the only safe person a child can confide in.

Whilst the UK has made huge strides in industry to support women’s talent; engineering and construction are just two that stand out to me, the state of the nation is, if we do not stamp out violence against women, equality and parity will never be achieved. And it’s the tireless work of our education staff, GPs, nurses and voluntary workers that puts us in the strongest position to do this.

Yes, there’s always lots more to be done to stop British girls falling victim to abusive behaviours – Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), forced marriage, child sexual exploitation, breast ironing, need I go on? But, in our education system, we must recognise our educators are spectacular people, who really care and are doing their utmost to take abuse out of the equation for every child.

Immersed in school safeguarding training every day, I can hand on heart say, there is not a strong enough push from Government or regulatory bodies to ensure that high quality safeguarding training is effective and completed regularly enough to make this difference just yet. There are a myriad of different forms of abuse, regulations, advice and strategies out there, and it’s complex. Changes in an abused child’s behaviour or attitude can be so subtle, it could easily be missed, yet under the Duty of Care, frontline professionals must be equipped to spot them. This takes some serious training, and I don’t mean sat in a room with 10 other teaching colleagues listening to a PowerPoint presentation. I mean individually assessed, quality training on each and every abuse subject, to be absolutely sure our frontline professionals have the tools to protect our children.

We’re already working with over 175,000 people to protect children and young people from abuse and in the next 12 months we aim to add thousands to this number so that by International Women’s Day 2019, thousands more girls are protected, enabling them to achieve their full potential unhindered by abuse.

So, in the spirit of celebration, here are just some the safeguarding campaigners, specialists and heroes from across the industry SSS Learning is keen to commend on International Women’s Day (and a handy list of their Twitter handles!):

Ceri Stokes (@CeriStokes) – Assistant Head Designated Safeguarding Lead and Boarding Housemistress interested in all safeguarding issues and PSHE topics @UKPastoralChat lead.

Paul Murphy (@e21cTrust) – CEO of E21C Bromley’s Multi-Academy Trust (MAT) and Headteacher of @RavensbourneSch.

Claire Lotriet (@OhLottie) – Assistant head. SLE: maths, computing, KS2. Author: @SwitchedOnComp Learn to Code. @TES columnist. @NAACE Award Winner. @proudofmyselfie creator. Google Cert.

Hibo Wardere (@HiboWardere) – Anti-FGM campaigner, author, global & public speaker. Survivor of FGM.

Charlotte Avery (@headmistresssmc) – Headmistress of St Mary’s School, Cambridge @StMarysSch | Vice President of The Girls’ Schools Association (GSA) @GSAUK.

Amanda Spielman (@amanda_spielman) – Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector, Ofsted.

Jim Gamble (@JimGamble_INEQE) – Safeguarding, Social Networks, Criminal Justice & Media commentator.

Prof Kalwant Bhopal (@KalwantBhopal) – Professor of Education and Social Justice, University of Birmingham. Interests: Race, Racism, Gender, Class, Inequalities, Social Justice, Equity.

Keziah Featherstone (@keziah70) Co-founder & National Leader of #WomenEd. Member of #HTRT. School Leader. Mum. Writer of stuff. Currently being 10% braver.

Bruce Adamson (@Bruce_Adamson) – Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland – promoting and safeguarding children’s rights.

Maria O’Neill (@DaringOptimist) – Passionate about CPD, Founder of @UKPastoralChat.

Anne Longfield (@ChildrensComm) – Children’s Commissioner for England – she promotes and protects children’s rights.

Adi Bloom (@adibloom_tes) – Journalist at @tes, and author of The Tes Little Book of Grammar.

Ann Mroz (@AnnMroz) – Editor and Digital Publishing Director, Tes (Times Educational Supplement).

Sarah Champion (@SarahChampionMP) – Labour member of parliament for Rotherham.

 

Are you GDPR ready?

Data is powerful. Modern technologies, ‘big data’ and the Internet of Things (IoT) are revolutionising the way we as educators are tackling major issues facing schools and academies today, from improving attainment and progress monitoring, safeguarding staff & pupils, vetting & barring, improving teacher recruitment and retention to ways of stretching budgets further.

But, and it’s a ‘big’ but…..with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) coming into force this May, there are considerable implications and modifications that must be made by schools and academies to ensure that compliance with European standards.

Firstly, to clarify, the aim of GDPR is to have international consistency around data protection laws and rights and to protect an individual’s personal data across Europe. As schools and academies generate and retain a significant amount of sensitive personal data, it is essential GDPR compliance requirements are met and embedded throughout all existing policies, procedures and practice. Whilst there are similarities with the existing UK Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA), this new legal framework updates requirements introducing clear laws with safeguards in place for the growing reliance on digital mediums.

Over the past six months, I have spent considerable time with schools and academies, working closely with leadership to develop a new SSS training course to help support that journey towards GDPR compliance.

Here are the top 10 questions I’m asked, and some basic pointers to think about…..

1. How important is it that we comply by the deadline?

Critical – there are higher penalties for non-compliance than ever before. Under the GDPR, the amount the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) can fine has increased from £500,000 to £17 million, or four per cent of global turnover (whichever is greater). In addition, the reputational damage could have a significant impact too if your school or academy creates a breach!

2. So, where do we start?

The best place to start is to implement an information audit. The information audit will provide you with a comprehensive picture of what data is held by your institution, where it comes from and in what form, who it is shared with, how it is stored and how it is deleted. Completing this audit will help ensure robust procedures are in place to detect, report and investigate a data breach.

3. Do we need a bespoke GDPR policy?

Yes! Ratified by governance, this policy should as a minimum requirement include the following; an explanation of your legal basis for processing data, your school or academy data retention periods, who will act as the data controller or data protection officer, how your school or academy will seek, obtain and record consent, arrangements for data sharing with 3rd parties, school or academy procedures for the main rights of individuals, how individuals can raise a complaint with the ICO if required, measures in place to detect, report and investigate a personal data breach and annual GDPR audit arrangements. Transparency is key. In addition to publishing your GDPR policy, make your bespoke Data Privacy Notice freely available.

4. How do we make sure all our staff are compliant?

It is crucial that comprehensive training is provided to every member of staff who comes into contact with personal data. In a school or academy, the reality is that all staff and contracted enhanced provision e.g. clubs, will collect and manage personal data. It is also critical that they are individually assessed to ensure comprehension.

Governance should also make their GDPR policy available and ensure staff understand the procedures bespoke to their institution. This should also extend to anyone responsible for data input e.g. supply staff, volunteers and extra-curricular activity contractors.

5. What should we do about old computer equipment?

Under GDPR, it is illegal not to have a formal contract e.g. Service Level Agreement in place with whoever is responsible for recycling or disposing of school or academy IT equipment. The contractor must be able to demonstrate competencies and accreditations for IT asset disposal. I’d also recommend obtaining their GDPR policy and Data Privacy Notice.

6. What does the GDPR mean for child protection?

Under the GDPR, children are afforded specific protection with regard to their personal data, as they may be less aware of the risks, consequences and safeguards concerns and their rights in relation to the processing of personal data. The GDPR raises the age at which a child can give their own consent from 12 to 16 years-old. An example of where this changes things in the school environment; where in the past, 12 to 15-year-olds could give consent to download an app onto their personal device, schools will now need to seek parental approval. The most important take-away is that any information given to, or communication with, a child must be in “such a clear and plain language that the child can easily understand”.

7. What documents might we hold at school that fall under GDPR?

Personal data, both current and historic, is any information, paper documents, digital records, photos or video footage, from which individuals can be identified. This includes pupil data, HR, CPD and performance management data, parent/carer and staff contact details and SLAs. Under GDPR, the definition of personal data is more detailed and includes a wider range of personal identifiers which constitute personal data, reflecting the changes in technology since the last standard in 1998.

8. Have we appointed a Data Controller?

As the legal body which determines the purpose and means of the processing of personal data, the Data Controller is legally required under GDPR. In real terms, this is the responsibility of the Governing Body or Trust, with overseeing and coordinating duties delegated to a governor or director. They are responsible for and must be able to fully demonstrate compliance with the principles of the GDPR.

9. What is a Data Processor and how many do we have?

A data processor is anyone who processes data on behalf of the Controller. In practice, this means anyone responsible for data management, processing and/or who has access to pupil or staff data falls under this remit. As said before, the likelihood is, that at some point, everyone within a school or academy will be a processor so it’s essential that they understand and adhere to the wishes of the Controller.

10. What is consent all about?

Under GDPR there is a far greater focus on personal consent and the ‘right to be forgotten’. The ICO has a useful checklist, ‘Asking for Consent’ which is worth checking out. GDPR also changes the rules for dealing with Subject Access Requests (SARs). The timescale for complying for instance, has been reduced from 40 days to one month. In most cases, a charge cannot be made for complying with a request, unless this involves excessive requirements.

The ICO has a useful portal updated regularly which can be accessed here.

Disclaimer: The information presented above is not legal advice, is not to be acted on as such, may not be current and is subject to change without notice. You should seek professional legal counsel before taking any action.

SSS Learning up for two Education Resources Awards

Safeguarding specialist SSS Learning has been nominated for two Education Resources Awards; within the categories of Supplier of the Year and Primary Resource or Equipment (Tools for leadership, management and assessment including ICT). With over 175,000 individual users and growing daily, the SSS service is helping schools and academies with Safeguarding requirements right across the UK. Finalists list here.

SSS Safeguarding Director, Sam Preston, said: “We are delighted to be up for two prestigious industry awards. This comes on the back of yet another strong year which has seen the company develop six critical new courses, taking our Safeguarding Suite from 8 to 14 courses.”

Organised by Brilliant Marketing Solutions and The British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA), The Education Resources Awards (ERA) are now in their 19th successful year and highlight and reward the quality and diversity of educational products, resources, services and people as well as the best educational establishments and the most dedicated members of the teaching profession. The ERA’s aims to encourage the raising of educational services & product standards throughout the industry and is recognised throughout the sector as the Accolade of excellence.

In the past 12 months, Sam and her team have developed new CPD-accredited training courses to help schools and academies get to grips with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR); Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL); Designated Safeguarding Lead Refresher; Honour Based Violence, Forced Marriage and Health & Safety.

SSS Learning’s suite of high quality, CPD accredited online safeguarding courses have been specifically developed by a team of digital developers and safeguarding specialists to meet the needs of today’s busy schools and academies; providing individualised CPD accredited learning, progress monitoring and assessment for all staff, governors and volunteers at a fraction of the cost and potential inconvenience of face-to-face training.

Jon Case, CEO of SSS Learning said: “It is absolutely fantastic that e-learning resources such as SSS’ are being recognised by top schemes like the ERAs. As educators, the pedagogical benefits of online learning are clear. SSS Learning draws upon the latest web technologies, creative animation and video to engage teachers in the training courses and support their different learning styles.”

Bullying Hurts

Bullying hurts. No-one deserves to be a victim of bullying. Everybody has the right to be treated with respect.

My reflection, having worked with schools and academies over many years, is that all staff I have met with are truly committed to providing a caring, friendly and safe environment for all children and young people, so children can thrive and learn in a relaxed secure atmosphere. But realistically, no matter what ethos a setting promotes, bullying behavior will emerge in some shape or form.

So let’s be absolutely clear, bullying is a form of peer-on-peer abuse. No longer should we think of bullying in any other remit. Just like other forms of peer-on-peer abuse, bullying behavior is abhorrent, damaging and dangerous, yes dangerous. As in all forms of peer-on-peer abuse, bullying is a form of exploitation which usually harms peers of the same or a similar age. Such exploitation includes racist, religious, sexual, homophobic, cyber and bullying targeted on disability. The impact of bullying cannot be underestimated, it shapes and effects how children go on to perceive the world around them. As such, I suggest a change in mind set. Bullying, no matter how low level the impact may be perceived at the time of incident, is serious, worrying and is likely to have longer term effects. We need to regard this as dangerous and both act swiftly and effectively.

Whilst considering the protection and support of a peer-on-peer abuse victim, it is also essential to understand that the child who is perpetrating the abuse may be at risk of harm. Every effort should be taken to ensure that the perpetrator is also treated as a victim and assessment of their risk and needs should be undertaken. This involves working with the perpetrator to help them understand the nature of their behaviour and the effect it has on others. Those who bully clearly need to learn different ways of behaving.

In educational settings we have to be vigilant to identify any behaviour that intentionally hurts another individual or group and have a responsibility to respond promptly and effectively to any issues of bullying. To do this effectively we must have policy, cross referenced to aligned policies, and focus on enabling staff through high quality robust training.

“If you think you know everything you become a dangerous person”…

Not my words but those of Amanda Spielman, reflecting on her own induction into the role of HM Chief Inspector—Ofsted at today’s Education Select Committee meeting. A view which is also reflected in the recent revisions to safeguarding training, where schools and academies now are required to evidence ongoing training and updates throughout the academic year.

Spielman also went on to comment “I don’t think you should ever say the induction period is completely finished, there’s always more to learn”. As a specialist and advocate of promoting best practice, music to my ears. So why are so many education settings still operating on a model of annual one-off training? In conversations with school and academy staff we are still hearing phrases like “we’ve done this year’s training” or “we’ve had training and are covered”. So, it begs the question that, given the chief inspector’s views, just how will such opinions fare in the inspection process.

As I’ve said before, given the range and complexity of the safeguarding remit, it is impossible to achieve best practice standards using a one off training method and snippets at staff briefings as such a model cannot possibly offer the depth of subject knowledge, assessment of learning and evaluation of practice standards. In my view, training models without such triangulation not only fail to adequately equip frontline staff but should also open up a key line of enquiry re leadership and management.

So what should a good training model look like and how can you be sure of it’s effectiveness? I’d advocate applying similar broad principals we apply to curriculum delivery:

  1. Use great content produced by experts in the particular topics and avoid cascaded models of training, which dilute expert experience and quality of learning;
  2. Ensure the content is accessible, engaging and most importantly current. The best systems offer immediate updates as legislation, statutory guidance and inspection requirements change.
  3. Provide training that all staff, regardless of their ability level, experience and language requirements, will understand with access to revision of training at the point of need, not when you can fit it into staff training sessions. (E-learning can be a valuable tool to achieve this).
  4. Use a system where individual tracking and assessment can be fully monitored. This is invaluable for leaders to not only track progress but assess comprehension. Something you can’t achieve in the traditional seminar style delivery.
  5. Avoid training where assessment pass rates are below 100%. I’m often asked why our pass rates aren’t lower than 100% and my response is always the same – “tell me what part of the safeguarding remit its okay not to understand”.

Whilst I echo Spielman’s ethos of ongoing continued professional development as essential, it’s the quality of such learning which lies at the heart of best practice. If we make this our focus for the safeguarding remit, standards can only improve and we may finally see the demise of the tick list approach!

Why e-Learning should be the obvious choice for safeguarding training, but is often overlooked…

E-Learning should be the clear number 1 choice when considering staff safeguarding training and compliance with requirements. On every level it makes total sense, whether it’s cost or effectiveness of learning.

With training updated as requirements change and courses accessible 24/7/365 on any PC, Mac, Tablet or Smartphone, why would you look anywhere other than the e-Learning sector?

The answer is simple – there is e-Learning and then there’s e-Learning, and here’s the big issue and where the doubt creeps in. How can you tell the difference between one company’s service and the next, and be sure you comply with requirements?

These are the fear factors which lead schools/academies to rely on external trainers, cascaded training or sending staff out on training courses. But we know these traditional methods are problematic. How can you be sure external training meets latest standards? The expertise is often lost in cascaded training, often diluted through the process of delivery, and offers little scope for differentiation to meet the participants needs. Change is sometimes hard to face, even if it will make things better again both in terms of cost and effectiveness of learning!

So here are some tips:

  1. Always ask your potential supplier to take you step-by-step through their system. Is it complex in terms of setup and administration? It shouldn’t be!
  2. Take a look at the quality and sophistication of the presentation. If it doesn’t engage you, it won’t engage your staff!
  3. Make sure you get access to the whole system for as long as you need, don’t be guided just to what companies want to show you (their best bits).
  4. Ask how often the content is updated and how you will know if there have been changes. The best systems offer immediate updates as legislation, statutory guidance and inspection requirements change.
  5. Remember, poorly designed and overly complex system architecture and content often leaves users disappointed, disillusioned and most importantly, inadequately trained. This problem starts with the system interface and user account setup but is an unnecessary issue as good system design can overcome this problem and help, not hinder the user.
  6. Next, the user needs to be fully engaged with the particular training course. This can only be achieved by gathering content from key experienced practitioners from the education sector combined with engaging written content and digital media that only the best providers achieve effectively.
  7. Does the content offer a solution that all your staff, regardless of their ability level, experience and language requirements, will understand?
  8. Engagement is everything. The last thing users want to see is static content that they could have produced themselves. Engaged learners learn and poor content and system design will disengage the user in seconds!

In a recent piece of feedback regarding our Safeguarding Suite, one of our customers emailed simply:

“Thank you for making my job easier.”

I loved it. There really is no better place to be than that. We have a great product that is protecting children and making practitioners’ lives easier and less stressful.

At SSS we pride ourselves on providing a service to our customers, who can be safe in the knowledge that we are looking after the training that they are required to complete.

This is what great e-learning can deliver.