Trainee teachers don't understand safeguarding role, says Ofsted

Inspectors find that trainees are unclear about their safeguarding responsibilities towards children

Helen Ward

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Trainee teachers are not being made fully aware of their future role in safeguarding children, Ofsted warned today.

Understanding safeguarding was one of the areas for improvement flagged up from the first stage inspections of initial teacher education this summer, Angela Milner, Ofsted's specialist HMI for initial teacher education, told a conference today.

Ms Milner told the annual conference of the National Association of School-Based Teacher Trainers (NASBTT) that it was “worrying” that safeguarding was one of the weaker areas of professional training.

“Trainees didn’t actually understand what safeguarding was about and their responsibilities as a teacher,” she said. There was also concern about trainees' knowledge of the Prevent duty and teaching British values.

Ms Milner said that one of the problems that inspectors of initial teacher education were finding with safeguarding was that students were not being provided with the documents they need.

Since September 2016, schools have had to ensure that all trainee teachers are provided with the child protection policy, the staff behaviour policy and information about the role of the designated safeguarding lead.

Duty to prevent terrorism

And all staff have to be prepared to know what to do in terms of identifying emerging problems or if a child tells them about abuse or neglect.

Teachers also have a legal duty to prevent pupils from being drawn into terrorism and to report pupils at risk of female genital mutilation.

Initial teacher education is inspected in two stages – the first stage is carried out at the end of the summer term, and no judgements are made on the teacher training provider at this stage. The second stage is carried out in the autumn term, when the trainees are then working as NQTs, and focuses on the quality of teaching.

Other issues that Ms Milner flagged up included too much focus on maths and English in primary training, with little experience of other subjects, and not enough focus on subject-specific pedagogy for secondary trainees.

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Helen Ward

Helen Ward

Helen Ward is a reporter at Tes

Find me on Twitter @teshelen

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