Birmingham Newman co-launches UK Level 7 Safeguarding Qualification to ‘professionalise’ the DSL Role

01/05/2024 by Newman Staff
students walking pas the front of Newman University

The Level 7 Qualification focused on Safeguarding in schools has been launched by Birmingham Newman University in partnership with Safe4Schools.

The Leading Safeguarding in Education PG Cert is targeted at the Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) role through a master’s level programme of study. The course content has been developed by Safe4Schools in collaboration with an expert working group consisting of National Safeguarding Directors from several Academy Trusts, and subsequently approved by Birmingham Newman University.

Jane Bradley, Associate Dean – Recruitment and Partnerships from Birmingham Newman University said: “The DSL role is integral to schools and colleges meeting their legal and safeguarding obligations related to child safety and welfare, but there is very little guidance on ‘how’ DSLs should deliver the role.

“This new programme will improve the DSL’s ability to administer the role, lead strategic whole school systems change and improve outcomes related to child welfare and safety in their settings. We are very excited to team up with Safe4Schols to deliver this vitally important course.”

The initial cohort will start the course in September 2024, with the programme delivered by Safe4Schools mainly online with some campus activities. The programme, which is a pathway to the MA Education in Safeguarding, consists of two modules: Contemporary Safeguarding Issues and The Designated Safeguarding Lead: Systems and Practice.

Safe4Schools is a specialist, UK-wide provider of safeguarding services to the education sector, working with Local Authorities, Trusts, Schools and other organisations. Its Managing Director, Mark Bowles, said: “We know how challenging the role of DSL can be, but also how important it is. There is currently no need for a DSL to have any qualification, and our market research has shown that DSLs often feel very vulnerable in their position, with nearly 70% stating that they do not receive regular training specific to the DSL role and 84.2% agreeing that a higher level of training comparable to the NPQ for the SENCO role would better equip staff to successfully deliver the DSL role.

“This new programme is the first step in gaining national recognition for the DSL role and to professionalise it to enable DSLs to demonstrate their expertise. Our objective is to raise standards across the country and to ensure that the DSL role, which has a high level of responsibility, gets the respect that it deserves.”

The Leading Safeguarding programme will provide DSLs with the tools to have a greater impact on the development of policy, process, and practice across the sector, leading to better outcomes for children, young people, and families. It aims to improve the ability of DSLs to lead strategic change that will help ensure increased safety and welfare for children and young people.