ONLINE LEARNING: Protecting Children: Developing Basic Skills

Protecting Children: Developing Basic Skills
Liz Davies and Kim Cairns, Akamas and London Metropolitan University
£25+VAT per student, visit Akamas or call 0845 094 0624


Akamas, an independent specialist e-learning and training organisation, has worked with London Metropolitan University to develop two online child protection courses, writes Martin C Calder.

Level A is a basic awareness course that provides an introduction to the key issues in safeguarding children and is aimed at anyone whose work, whether paid or voluntary, brings them into contact with children and families.

The five to 10 hours of learning is in two modules: developing awareness of child protection and child abuse and responding if you think a child is being harmed. The electronic modules are structured well, accessible, easy to read, sequential and up-to-date.

I particularly liked the ­quizzes that relate to the modules, and which are a prerequisite for the certification at the end of the course. There are useful questions raised in relation to the law, what forms abuse may take and how these may present in real casework.

Difficult and disabling issues, such as when and with whom to share information and consent, are covered, as are personal reactions and coping strategies. The modules are supported by a free resource pack with information on legislation, useful references and further reading.

This basic awareness course offers employers and councils an easy way to ensure everyone who needs it can be provided with vital awareness training.

Level B follows a similar format but with three modules: recognising signs and indicators of abuse in a child how children are protected from abuse and different roles in working together to safeguard children.

This module is aimed at anyone whose professional activity is concerned with children and families, such as social workers and police officers.

It comprises 15 to 20 hours of learning. I particularly liked the use of more challenging scenarios in relation to what is acceptable and unacceptable across a range of issues, as well as the use of an extended case study to examine roles and responsibilities throughout a child protection intervention.

A main attraction was an updated section on professional danger and, in particular, the insightful application of a conceptual framework to the Victoria Climbié case, which was worth the price alone and should be more widely used in inter-agency safeguarding training.

This offers a useful pathway for those who struggle to access face-to-face training, perhaps because they are sessional or part-time workers, as well as a refresher for the hardened professional who thinks they know it all, having been round the block a few times.

The principal author is Liz Davies, an academic who helped to support the professionals caught up in the Victoria Climbié Inquiry, and her insight comes through.

Employers will be short-sighted if they do not buy into the package for the whole of their workforce.

It may be especially valuable for those in adults’ services who work with parents and who may be missing abuse as their focus is on the adult as the client, rather than the client’s children.

Martin C Calder is an independent trainer and consultant and editor of Contemporary Assessment in Child Protection, which is due to be published this year by Russell House.


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