What is safer recruitment in education?

When working with children and in educational settings, the safety and welfare of the children and young people you care for it is of utmost importance.

Effective safeguarding for educational provision starts with the employment of the very best person for the post. When hiring new staff or volunteers, safer recruitment panels should understand that recruitment is not just about vetting them against the DBS check before they start in school but also includes effective induction and a strong and clear staff code of conduct. Schools should be confident that whomever they hire is entirely trustworthy and does not present a threat to any child or young person.

While most people applying to work in school (paid or voluntary) are safe and trustworthy, we know that some individuals target organisations which allows them access to children. Safer recruitment in education involves having a set of robust procedures and practices for hiring within your setting. These set of arrangements ensure that you are recruiting new staff and volunteers in the safest way possible and will reduce the chances of hiring somebody who is possibly unsuitable to work with children or young people.

With these procedures in place, you will be supported to deter, identify and reject candidates who may pose a risk to the children and young people in your care.


There are various pieces of legislation and government guidance that detail how and why safer recruitment should and must take place.

The statutory guidance Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSiE) and The Governance Handbook sets out the duties and responsibilities of governing bodies to comply with safer recruitment rules. It states that schools or colleges ‘should have written recruitment and selection policies and procedures in place’ to ‘prevent people who pose a risk of harm from working with children.’ These effective systems should include procedures to check out agency staff, volunteers and coaches.

In addition, the Competency Framework for Governors outlines the essential knowledge for all members of an educational board, including  ‘how staff are recruited and how this compares to good recruitment…practice.’ To gain this essential knowledge, staff involved in recruiting must be formally trained in safe recruitment. 

The Staff Advice Handbook highlights the importance that all schools are familiar with the KCSiE guidance when recruiting. One of the requirements in for KCSiE is that ‘governing bodies of maintained schools [must] ensure that at least one of the persons who conducts an interview has completed safer recruitment training. In academy schools, the trust must reassure itself that all appropriate suitability checks have been undertaken.

Based on this guidance, no matter what your organisation, whether you are a school, college or independent organisation which provides educational services or works with children and young people, it is good practice that everyone involved in the recruiting process to  be trained in safer recruitment. Your organisation should also have its own set of recruitment and selection procedures which are in-keeping with legislation and regularly reviewed and updated. As well as reassuring themselves that mechanisms are in place to check that any person employed to teach has the required teaching qualifications and has successfully completed any statutory induction required, including online safety.

This will allow you to make sure everyone involved with your organisation knows how to create a safe environment for the children or young people you work with.

In short, serious case review findings and recommendations continue to highlight the importance of effective safer recruitment. They make it is clear that the consequences of inadequately trained practitioners, ineffective safeguarding arrangements and polices can be devastating for all those involved.


Safer recruitment training courses ensure that the staff involved in recruiting within your organisation can construct and conduct recruitment processes in the safest way possible. As a result of safer recruitment training, they will:

  • Be aware of, and up to date on, the necessary knowledge, legislation and guidelines for safe recruitment
  • Know how to carry out the appropriate checks on potential candidates and determine when it is appropriate to do further checks
  • Be able to develop clear messages and procedures to communicate to other staff and applicants
  • Be able to identify and eliminate unsuitable candidates, and know what to do if they suspect that somebody might pose a threat to any child
  • Know how to improve their own procedures to recruit more effectively and more safely

At Safeguarding Support Ltd we provide training, either face to face or virtual, which is  developed in accordance with the latest safer recruitment legislation and best practice. We are able to offer both full-day, nationally accredited and half-day, non-accredited sessions.  Following our training sessions your recruitment panel will be self-assured in their selection of their new team members, confident in the knowledge they are complying with keeping children safe in education legislation and ultimately, demonstrating that the welfare of the children you care for is of paramount importance to your setting.

More information on our safer recruitment sessions and other safeguarding training can be found by Clicking Here.

References / further information:

Rachel Priestley

Rach has a background in Business Development and Administration, gaining much of her knowledge and experience through her 19 year career with the NHS working within the executive office, community services and public health. 

Before moving on from the NHS, Rach supported the Chief Executive, the Chairman and the Trust Board of a local NHS Care Trust, which managed Children’s Services. Her responsibilities spanned across HR, Finance, Governance, Compliance, Risk, systems and processes, and internal training. Rach also supported the Children’s Safeguarding Lead with safeguarding investigations.

In 2017, she left the NHS to pursue a successful self-employed career supporting business to grow, with flexible business development and administration support, which she continues to do on a part-time basis.

Rach is in house trained, and is passionate about delivering outstanding services and enjoys working as part of the safeguarding team to achieve a common goal.

In her own time, she loves spending time outside, and long walks with the two family dogs. 

Shelley Armstrong

Shelley joined Safeguarding Support in 2020 as an experienced AET-qualified freelance trainer, and now enjoys working across the business, keeping clients as up to date as possible with the ever changing challenges facing safeguarding children in education.

Whilst we aim to simplify safeguarding, Shelley’s passion is to ensure engagement, pride and confidence through training and support. Shelley enjoys applying the competencies gained in different industries and environments to researching, designing, and developing materials for those with the responsibility to safeguard children, and in return has enormous respect for their commitment.

Her experience across the private business sector brings commercial skills to training and her background in psychology and counselling ensure courses are designed and delivered with the learner in mind.

Shelley lives in Yorkshire and enjoys walking her springer spaniels – come rain or shine!

Abigail Havon

Abigail is an experienced AET qualified trainer who began her safeguarding career in the charity sector.  There she was a regional manager and part of the safeguarding leadership team.  She was involved in writing policies and procedures, developing, and delivering training and supporting staff and volunteers to work 121 with children struggling with their literacy. 

She has worked in a variety of business environments gaining experience in different sectors. She has always chosen roles that call for collaboration and communication to bring the best out in people and projects to completion.  Abigail passionately believes that empowering educators to work together as part of a safeguarding team will lead to better outcomes for children and young people. 

As part of the SSL training team her role focuses mainly on delivering virtual training. 

Abigail lives near the Jurassic Coast and enjoys long walks and caring for her jungle of houseplants.  

Carol Stephenson

Carol has spent her entire career teaching in Bradford primary schools. Most recently she was Head Teacher of a large, outstanding, multi-academy trust, inner-city
school where she gained Local Leaders of Education (LLE) status.

Carol is a highly experienced Designated Safeguarding Lead and safeguarding Governor, with an extensive range of expertise, skills and knowledge. It was through this depth of experience that she became a dedicated representative of Bradford Children’s Safeguarding Board. In June 2019, Carol was awarded a Bradford Safeguarding Champions lifetime achievement award 2019 for her continued work in safeguarding the children of Bradford.

Carol is in-house trained and is NSPCC certified to deliver Child Protection and Safeguarding training.

In her spare time, Carol enjoys working on her allotment.