TRAINING in how to spot child abuse should be compulsory for all teachers, according to Mary Baginsky, a senior research officer at a children's charity.
Research by the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children has found that students on some initial teacher-training courses, which can last between one and three years, receive as little as one hour's training in the subject, while the maximum on other courses is four hours.
Out of 491 former ITT students who responded to the survey, 26 per cent said they had received no child-protection training at college, while 13 per cent said they had not received any before or after qualifying.
Ms Baginsky said: "ITT courses need to devote at least one full day to child protection, especially as the number of hours devoted to child development has been drastically reduced in most curriculums.
"The current lack of training means that teachers do not know how to read the danger signs, meaning that abuse is going unnoticed. Even when abuse is detected, many teachers do not know how to deal with it.
"The study clearly shows that, as well as receiving more child-protection training at college, it is vital for teachers to receive education on the subject once they have started their jobs."
The NSPCC will be launching a teacher pack on child protection later this year.