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Mandatory safeguarding and child protection training

Staff member listening to trainer

It’s essential that anyone who works or volunteers with children or young people has the knowledge and skills needed to help keep children safe. But what does that mean in practice?

Statutory guidance sets out the child protection requirements for people working or volunteering with children in the UK1. These requirements differ depending on a person’s role and whether they work directly with children or have a specific safeguarding responsibility. There is also separate guidance for people working in sectors such as education, healthcare, early years, childcare and social work.

Training requirements

All staff and volunteers

Everyone who works or volunteers with children should understand the role they have in keeping children safe. This includes being able to recognise the signs and indicators of abuse and knowing how to follow their organisation’s safeguarding and child protection procedures.

Our introductory child protection training covers these essential skills, giving learners the basic knowledge they need to keep children and young people safe.

Nominated child protection leads

Members of staff or volunteers who have a safeguarding role or responsibility should have training to help them carry out their role. This should cover:

  • recognising and responding to issues
  • building a safer organisational culture
  • safer recruitment
  • developing or implementing safeguarding policies and procedures
  • information sharing
  • local child protection procedures
  • relevant legislation and guidance.

People working in specific sectors

There is specific guidance for people working in the education, healthcare, early years and childcare and social work sectors.

All staff working in the education sector should receive child protection training to equip them with the knowledge and skills to safeguard pupils attending their school or college. This should be reviewed and updated regularly. 

Staff and governors with additional child protection responsibilities should have further training to enable them to fulfil their roles. 

> See all our courses for schools and colleges

The Royal Colleges and health professional bodies have published intercollegiate guidance2 which sets out the knowledge, skills and training requirements for healthcare staff in the UK. 

> See our Safeguarding for health professionals level 4 course

Early years and childcare
Childminders and staff working in day care and early years care should have appropriate training in child protection and know what to do if they have a concern. 

Social work
Social workers in the UK must be registered with the relevant regulator. In order to register, social workers must have a social work degree and meet the regulator's standards. 

Choosing the right training

It’s important that all staff and volunteers undertake training that is matched to their needs and requirements. For basic understanding this could be provided informally – but you should ensure that all of the skills and knowledge needed are covered.

> Find out more about different safeguarding levels and what they mean

We provide a range of courses from the basic and introductory to more specialist and advanced skills. All of our training is developed by experts and is regularly updated to follow the latest guidance and legislation.

And, we offer training through elearning, virtual live events and face-to-face sessions so you can find a method that suits you.

Depending on your role, you may also want to undertake additional learning and development by attending conferences and child protection events.

What is CPD and is it important?

CPD stands for continuing professional development and it refers to the ongoing training that professionals undertake to keep their skills and knowledge up to date. As with mandatory training requirements, different sectors have different requirements for CPD - although increasingly professionals are carrying out CPD voluntarily. Doing CPD helps make sure you have the latest insight and are aware of current best practice, and demonstrates your commitment to your profession.

All of our courses on NSPCC Learning are CPD certified, which means you can be confident you're receiving the very highest standards of training.

How often should training be refreshed?

Child protection and safeguarding should be part of your induction process for all new staff and volunteers – whatever the role and responsibilities, and whichever sector you work in.

There is different guidance for how often training should be refreshed, depending on a person’s role, the sector and whether you are in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales. You should follow the guidance from your regulatory body, local authority and UK nation.

> See our full range of training courses


NSPCC Learning Child protection system in the UK
Royal College of Nursing (RCN) (2019) Safeguarding children and young people: roles and competencies for healthcare staff. London: Royal College of Nursing (RCN).

Why choose NSPCC training?

As UK's experts on safeguarding and child protection, we understand the issues organisations and people working with children can face. That’s why professionals trust us to provide the support, training and resources they need to help protect the children and young people they work with.

Our highly-rated training courses are clear, easy-to-use, up-to-date and in line with the latest statutory guidance. And we provide elearning, virtual live training and face-to-face courses so you can choose the learning style that best meets your needs. 

Together we can protect even more children

Income generated from the sale of our training courses is reinvested back into the NSPCC to help protect children. See all our training courses

Together we can protect even more children

Income generated from the sale of our training courses is reinvested back into the NSPCC to help protect children. See all our training courses