Less than one fifth of headteachers, governors and council employees eligible to take up key child protection training recommended by the inquiry into the Soham murders have completed the programme, it has emerged this week.
New figures from the National College for School Leadership, which hosts the voluntary Safer Recruitment online training on its website, show that only 9,110 out of 50,000 eligible professionals have completed the training recommended by the Bichard Inquiry, which is expected to take between four and five hours, 18 months after it was launched.
All headteachers and one governor from each maintained school, non-maintained special school and independent school and two employees from each council, were given free access to the programme in late 2005.
The figures also show that just over three-fiths of those eligible, 30,498, have enrolled on the course.
The Bichard Inquiry recommended that headteachers and school governors should receive training on recruiting safely after it emerged that the school that employed Ian Huntley had not followed the correct procedures.
The Home Office’s fourth progress report on implementing the Bichard Inquiry’s recommendations, published last week, outlined lower levels of take up and completion of the training. The report says that to date only around 11,000 headteachers and governors had either completed or were undertaking the online training, a “slower rate” than the government had hoped for.
Commenting on the government’s figures Kevin Brookes, a policy advisor at children’s charity the NSPCC, said that the slow take up was “worrying” and that it didn’t bode well for the take up of future follow up training.
“The next stage [for the government] should be to identify the reasons for the low take up. The reasons could be that staff didn’t find it very helpful or they didn’t find they had the time.”
An NCSL spokesperson said that according to its records almost all headteachers had enrolled on the training. It added that the online provision was complemented by face-to-face workshops which were set to be delivered in schools and other organisations by more than 350 tutors.
Bichard Inquiry Recommendations: Fourth Progress Report