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Northampton SCB Case Study

running children

The background

‘Working together to ensure all children and young people grow up in a safe environment’ is the guiding principle of the Northamptonshire Safeguarding Children Board (NSCB).

The NSCB consists of senior representatives from all the principal organisations in the county whose staff come into contact with children and young people, their parents and carers. Over 20 agencies are represented including schools, councils, the police and NHS healthcare trusts.

NSCB’s Kevin Johnson is project officer for the Learning and Development, Policies and Procedures and Young People’s LSCB Sub Groups.

In this role, Kevin oversees all aspects of work relating to these groups, including e-learning provision and face-to-face training.

The challenge

‘Within the county, thousands of staff come into contact with children and young people every day, so the task of ensuring they received appropriate safeguarding training was daunting.

‘Kevin commented: “We were challenged by the need to train a large workforce on a limited budget in a wide range of subjects over a variety of formats.”

“Specifically, we needed to be able to reach a large number of practitioners with a consistent ‘introduction to safeguarding course’ to enable us to deliver more targeted safeguarding training on identified topics face-to-face.”

Online learning can form a valuable part of a blended learning solution allowing practitioners to arrive for specific face-to-face training with a level of underpinning knowledge which is consistent across the group.

The solution

As a result of searching the internet and researching what other Local Safeguarding Children Boards were using to deliver e-learning, NSCB found out about Virtual College.

Formed in 2006, Virtual College’s Safeguarding Children e-Academy specialises in the creation of online safeguarding learning resources working in partnership with over 60 local safeguarding boards.

Following further investigation, the NSCB joined the Virtual College’s Safeguarding Children e-Academy in May 2014 purchasing 2,000 licences to allow staff to access the 6 ‘Awareness of Child Abuse and Neglect’ courses which are tailored to the different learning needs of staff within its agencies.

The NSCB also uses the self-registration functionality of Enable, Virtual College’s learning management system, which is branded to the look and feel of the NSCB.

“This self-registration facility allows practitioners to access the courses immediately anytime, day or night. It is easy to use and requires minimal administration from the NSCB Business Office,” explained Kevin.

“This is very important as we have a large number of people from many different areas undertaking the courses and spending significant amounts of time on administration would be counterproductive. Virtual College also provides support for any learner queries so we do not need to worry about resourcing this.”

The results

By the end of March 2015, over 1500 practitioners had already completed an e-learning course.

This included all of the lunchtime supervisors in the county taking an ‘introduction’ course, a group which was not covered previously by the NSCB, and learners from other areas of the county being able to access training who had not previously engaged with the training offered by the NSCB.

Feedback from learners has been very positive:

Although 44% of learners had never used a computer training package before, 97% found the system easy to access and navigate through

41% of learners completed their training at work and 54% of learners were able to complete their training at home

98% of learners said that the course gave them all the information they needed to know and would recommend the course to other people

Kevin added: “The system has also enabled the Board to track and assess other areas of the workforce who have not used the course."

“We can then follow up to assess whether the training they have in place is meeting NSCB agreed standards.”

“This really is an efficient and cost effective way of delivering training to large numbers of people quickly.”

What next?

The NSCB plans to continue to use and promote the ‘Awareness of Child Abuse and Neglect’ courses to all practitioners working with children and young people who join the workforce and any practitioners who have not yet taken a safeguarding course.

Following the conclusion of a detailed Training Needs Analysis the NSCB have now upgraded to the Virtual College’s Total Training Package which provides unlimited licences to over 50 safeguarding courses for the next 3 years.

“The total training package will now allow the NSCB to provide e-learning on a variety of subjects to the entire children’s workforce,” concluded Kevin.

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