Training in child sexual exploitation and cyberbullying will become mandatory for all residential children’s home workers as part of two new qualifications announced this week.
The qualifications will teach staff and managers how to spot early signs of child sexual exploitation and cyberbullying, as well as how to act upon them to keep children safe.
Staff without relevant qualifications will have to gain new ones – at NVQ level 3 for care staff and level 5 for managers. New care staff will have two years after beginning their roles to complete the qualifications, whilst managers will have three.
The government said the structure of these qualifications is “much simpler” and will plug gaps left by previous ones, which were made up of optional modules that could mean staff missed out on important skills.
Children’s Minister Edward Timpson said the new qualifications will equip care home staff with the skills and confidence required to keep children safe from harm.
“I have no doubt that the vast majority of care home staff display great commitment and relentless dedication in providing a stable and caring environment for those they look after, the simple fact is that quality matters,” the minister said.
Staff lack skills and training
This announcement came at the same time as census data published by the Department for Education showed children’s care home managers find it difficult to recruit staff with the appropriate level of skills and training for the advertised position.
91% of managers said that applicants do not have the required experience, whilst just over half felt they do not have the necessary qualifications.
The census data, taken from 841 homes in England (49% of all eligible) also showed how pay for care staff varied in the public and private sector. No local authority managers sampled in the census reported that their staff were paid below the national minimum or living wage rate, whilst 15% of privately run residential homes reported this was the case.