Safeguarding Scenarios and Answers for Education (2023)

Everyone who works in the education sector has a legal duty to keep the children who attend, safe from harm. Namely, this includes teachers, teaching assistants, designated safeguarding leads (DSLs), headteachers and lunchtime staff. However, anyone else who spends time with children, paid or voluntary, also has this duty. Teaching staff, for example, spend a lot of time with the same children, and it is not uncommon for children to then disclose their concerns. You must know how to respond to this type of information so that you can get the child the help they need.

You may find it difficult to recognise what constitutes a safeguarding issue and what actions you are responsible for taking. This article includes examples of potential safeguarding scenarios that you may come across. It will clarify what action you are responsible for taking when it comes to child welfare concerns.

What are Safeguarding Issues?

Examples of safeguarding issues include bullying, radicalisation, sexual exploitation, grooming, allegations against staff, incidents of self-harm, forced marriage, and FGM. These are the main incidents you are likely to come across, however, there may be others.

Your duty to protect children extends beyond the education setting, such as at home. Teachers may notice physical indicators that something is not right long before a child seeks help. This can manifest as subtly as behavioural differences, or in more obvious ways such as bruising.

Safeguarding Scenarios and Answers for Education (1)

(Video) Safeguarding: Disclosure

Without context, it is sometimes difficult to judge if there is a potential safeguarding concern. For this reason, we have compiled some example safeguarding scenarios and answers to show you situations that may present and what action you should take.

How Should I Use the Following Safeguarding Scenarios?

The safeguarding scenarios that we have created should help you to understand the possible issues you may be confronted with. You must be able to identify the warning signs that could indicate a child’s welfare is at risk.

As well as understanding how you must deal with concerns, you need to know what actually constitutes a safeguarding issue. Our example scenarios demonstrate just how complicated some issues can be. They will also explain why certain incidents could be safeguarding issues.

As a leading provider of safeguarding children training courses, we often receive queries from our customers about their safeguarding responsibilities. We have created the following scenarios with schools in mind, although many will be applicable or adaptable to other settings. You may find it helpful to add these scenarios to your bank of safeguarding training resources. They will be useful for employers to share with all members of staff who are in a child-facing role, particularly during training exercises. Staff can consider and discuss the examples, and compare similar instances that they have experienced.

The most important thing to remember is to report any suspicions you have, even if you aren’t certain. You must know which member of staff you should be reporting these concerns to and the procedures that are in place.

Safeguarding Scenarios and Answers for Education (2)

Child Safeguarding Scenarios and Answers

Scenario A

Beth, Aged 8

Beth is known for being an inquisitive and chatty member of the class. Recently, however, you have noticed a complete change in her behaviour. For the last couple of weeks, Beth has been much quieter and withdrawn. You also notice that although it is a very hot summer and Beth wore dresses a few weeks ago, she has recently been consistently wearing clothes that cover her whole body.

Safeguarding Issue?

This has the potential to be a safeguarding issue.

(Video) Understanding safeguarding 1 of 5: What is Safeguarding?

Here, you have no evidence that Beth is at risk of harm. However, as her teaching assistant, you know the child well. You have your suspicions that Beth’s drastic change in personality may be a result of physical abuse occurring. This is coupled with the fact that Beth is standing out wearing what is considered winter uniform in hot temperatures when a few weeks before she was wearing summer dresses.

Scenario B

James, Aged 16

James is a popular student and is part of a large friendship group. A new pupil, Matthew, has joined the school. You observe how, in the last month, the two of them have been spending a lot of time together separate from James’ usual group. Jenny, one of the girls from James’ old friendship group, has approached you after class with some concerns. She says that when she tried to approach James to ask why he had suddenly broken off all contact with the group, he got very annoyed and angry. James apparently said that “everyone else is blind to what is going on in Britain” and made comments about how Matthew had made him “see sense”. He allegedly made what Jenny interpreted as a threat, saying, “just you wait and see what we have planned”.

Safeguarding Issue?

This has the potential to be a safeguarding issue.

Although you have not directly heard James making these types of comments yourself, you must take Jenny’s claim seriously. While it may be that Jenny is simply annoyed at James for leaving the group, her claims must not be dismissed. You should already be aware of some of the potential behavioural indicators of radicalisation. This does include distancing from old friends, being argumentative, and sympathetic to extremist ideologies. If what Jenny is saying is true, then James may have been radicalised, possibly by or alongside Matthew. This has the potential to cause harm to other people if the threat of potentially violent action is carried out.

For more information about how to respond to potential instances of radicalisation, you can access the government’s Channel Guidance or educate.against.hate.

Safeguarding Scenarios and Answers for Education (3)

Scenario C

A’isha, Aged 13

A’isha is known to be disruptive during class. Behavioural concerns have been raised in the past. The DSL believes that due to her parents’ recent divorce A’isha has been acting out at school as a way to get attention from others. During breaktime, you witness A’isha showing her friends her new mobile phone and telling them how her boyfriend bought it for her as a gift. As you leave work later that day you see A’isha kissing someone who looks at least 18 years old. A’isha and her friends then all get into the car and the ‘boyfriend’ drives off.

Safeguarding Issue?

This is a safeguarding issue.


Because A’isha’s ‘boyfriend’ drives a car you know that he is at least 17 years old, though you suspect he’s older. Because A’isha is under 16, she cannot give consent to a potentially sexual relationship with someone who is significantly older. It appears that the potential abuser is grooming A’isha through the excessive gifts and attention that she is being given. You know that A’isha is a vulnerable child seeking attention and you are concerned she may be a victim of sexual exploitation.

Scenario D

Freddie, Aged 17

Freddie is one of your Sixth Form pupils who you have taught History lessons to for the last five years. You notice how he has recently become more vocal and has seemingly gained confidence in class. During a lesson, Freddie and his friends are talking loudly amongst themselves. As you go over to them, you see that they are looking at a picture of one of the school’s female teachers on a mobile phone. The photo is sexually explicit and when you ask who the phone belongs to, you learn that it is Freddie’s. After class, Freddie tells you that the teacher sent the picture to him and that they have met up outside of school on a few occasions.

Safeguarding Issue?

This is a safeguarding issue.

Here, a teacher is abusing their position and behaving inappropriately with Freddie, a pupil in their care. It is against the law for a person aged 18 or over to have any sexual contact with someone under 18 if the older person holds a position of trust. As Freddie is 17 years, and a student of the teacher with whom he is romantically involved, he is considered as a vulnerable individual who has been taken advantage of.

What Action Must I Take?

It is highly likely that you will need to take a similar course of action for the majority of the safeguarding concerns you have, including for the scenarios outlined above.

Firstly, make a written record of your observations and any concerns you have. Provide as much detail as possible, including dates. Then, follow your organisation’s child protection policy, usually by raising these concerns with the designated safeguarding lead (DSL) at your place of work.

While all employees have a duty to ensure children are kept safe at school, the DSL is responsible for overseeing this and for liaising with external child welfare organisations. As soon as you have concerns that a child may come to harm you should contact the DSL. You should have a proper discussion with them, allowing you to clearly express your suspicions. As the member of staff most knowledgeable in safeguarding, the DSL will know how to correctly respond to your concerns. This may mean they will make a referral and liaise with children’s social care if deemed necessary.

How to Report Concerns

If, having reported your concerns, you do not think that the appropriate action has been taken, you can call the NSPCC’s Whistleblowing Advice Line on 0800 028 0285, or email This service offers free, confidential advice and support to anyone concerned about how safeguarding concerns are dealt with.

(Video) Safeguarding Scenarios

If you believe a child to be at risk of immediate danger, you must call the police on 999.

Safeguarding Scenarios and Answers for Education (4)

One way to ensure all staff working in the education sector are fully aware of their safeguarding duties is for them to undertake training. This should include courses with safeguarding training qualifications, depending on the level needed. You can access High Speed Training’s online courses, including Introduction to Safeguarding (Level 1), Advanced Safeguarding (Level 2) and Designated Safeguarding Lead (Level 3).

As an employee in the education sector, you share an important duty to keep all children safe. Your training should have taught you to recognise the potential warning signs of all safeguarding concerns. Furthermore, the scenarios above should have helped you think more about how you would respond to possible incidents you may come across. By discussing the scenarios with your colleagues, you will further improve knowledge. Crucially, when it comes to protecting the children you teach, do not ignore your own suspicions. Report your concerns to the DSL as soon as possible, as doing so may protect a child from serious harm.

What to Read Next:

  • Guide to Safeguarding Children Legislation
  • Safeguarding Responsibilities of School Staff


EducationSafeguarding ChildrenTeachers and Parents



What are the examples of safeguarding scenarios? ›

Safeguarding concerns: practice examples
  • One-to-one working.
  • Hiring out space.
  • Parent volunteers.
  • Residential trips.
  • Responding to a concern.
  • Noticing a concern.
  • Sexting.
  • Inappropriate behaviour from an adult.
Oct 5, 2021

What are the safeguarding scenarios for students? ›

Examples of safeguarding issues include suspected abuse, bullying, sexual exploitation, radicalisation, grooming, allegations against staff, forced marriage and female genital mutilation (FGM).

How do you answer safeguarding questions? ›

Tips for Answering Safeguarding Interview Questions
  • Read the School's Safeguarding Policy. Each school will have its own safeguarding policy, and it is likely to be available online. ...
  • Provide Example Situations. ...
  • Be Honest. ...
  • Be Mindful of Confidentiality. ...
  • Use the STAR Method.
Mar 13, 2023

What is a safeguarding scenario? ›

These scenarios have been created to be used as a training tool for all practitioners in early years settings, including childminders. These scenarios can be used for individual training purposes or as a team discussion in staff meetings.

What are 6 examples of safeguarding? ›

What are the six principles of safeguarding?
  • Empowerment. People being supported and encouraged to make their own decisions and informed consent.
  • Prevention. It is better to take action before harm occurs.
  • Proportionality. The least intrusive response appropriate to the risk presented.
  • Protection. ...
  • Partnership. ...
  • Accountability.

What are 3 examples of what contextual safeguarding might include? ›

Contextual safeguarding includes addressing the following safeguarding concerns Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE), Child Criminal Exploitation (CCE), County Lines, Child Trafficking, Children affected by Gang Activity, Harmful Sexual Behaviour (where this is outside of the family home) and Missing.

What are the scenarios of at risk students? ›

Student Related:
  • Poor school attitude.
  • Low ability level.
  • Attendance/truancy.
  • Behavior/discipline problems.
  • Pregnancy.
  • Drug abuse.
  • Poor peer relationships.
  • Nonparticipation.

What are scenarios in early childhood education? ›

Scenarios are snapshots of experiences in the professional practice of a Registered Early Childhood Educator. Each scenario includes a series of questions meant to help RECEs reflect on the situation.

How do you identify safeguarding issues? ›

Monitoring a person's emotional and physical wellbeing

Look for any indicators that suggest a person is at risk of harm, such as changes to demeanour or behaviour. Make a point of recording these indicators. Through monitoring these signs and reviewing them regularly you may identify a safeguarding issue.

What is a good safeguarding question? ›

Questions You Could Be Asked

What are your attitudes to child protection and safeguarding? How have these developed over time? Can you tell me about a time when a child behaved in a way that caused you concern? How did you deal with this situation?

What are examples of open ended questions in safeguarding? ›

Examples of open questions are:
  • How did it happen?
  • What happened?
  • Who was there?
  • How does it make you feel?
  • How often does it happen?
  • How does the other person react?
  • Tell me about your relationship with…
  • How do you see your future.

What are safeguarding answers? ›

Safeguarding means protecting people's human rights, health and general wellbeing. This includes acting to prevent neglect, harm or abuse of these individuals.

What is the best way to explain safeguarding? ›

Safeguarding is the action that is taken to promote the welfare of children and protect them from harm. Safeguarding means: protecting children from abuse and maltreatment. preventing harm to children's health or development.

What is safeguarding in one sentence? ›

Safeguarding means protecting a citizen's health, wellbeing and human rights; enabling them to live free from harm, abuse and neglect. It is an integral part of providing high-quality health care. Safeguarding children, young people and adults is a collective responsibility.

What are the two types of safeguarding? ›

Here is a list of those ten categories and how safeguarding training can help professionals deal with their effects.
  • Safeguarding against Physical Abuse. ...
  • Safeguarding against Psychological Abuse. ...
  • Safeguarding against Sexual Abuse. ...
  • Safeguarding against Neglect. ...
  • Safeguarding against Self-Neglect.
Dec 5, 2016

What are the 3 P's of safeguarding? ›

The three are: Provision, Protection and Participation, with sometimes Prevention added as the fourth.

What are the 5 P's of safeguarding? ›

The 5 P's of child protection are: Prevention, Paramountcy, Partnership, Protection and Parental Responsibility. Make your child aware of these P's for an awkward situation they don't understand.

What are the 4 R's of safeguarding? ›

The 4Rs of Safeguarding Children is professional practice for how you can recognise, record, report and refer in the situation of child abuse.

What is the difference between child protection and safeguarding? ›

In short terms, safeguarding is what we do to prevent harm, while child protection is the way in which we respond to harm.

What is an example of a child safeguarding policy? ›

For example: Our organisation acknowledges the duty of care to safeguard, protect and promote the welfare of children and is committed to ensuring safeguarding practice reflects statutory responsibilities, government guidance and complies with best practice and [insert name of regulatory body] requirements.

What are 4 indicators of students at risk? ›

However, several factors may play a role in hindering a successful outcome. Addressing the at-risk indicators of excessive absences, discipline referrals, socioeconomic status, disability status, early grade retention, and family composition gives insight into struggles students face.

What are examples of risk taking in education? ›

Classroom risk-taking can take many forms, such as reaching out to new friends, trying a new method of note taking, or stepping up to a leadership position in a group project. Teachers can incorporate risk-taking into the curriculum to create a culture where students feel safe.

What are examples of school risks? ›

Administrators and parents alike are inundated with news of sad or terrifying behavior-related incidents that occur on school grounds. Bullying, harassment, custody issues, and active shooters are real concerns that can be mitigated through both design solutions and protocol.

What are examples of scenarios? ›

A possible scenario would be that we move to the city. The most likely scenario is that he goes back to school in the fall. The best-case scenario would be for us to finish the work by tomorrow. In the worst-case scenario, we would have to start the project all over again.

What is an example of scenario and situation? ›

The government plans for hundreds of scenarios, such as natural disasters and attacks by terrorists. In literature, a scenario can mean a summing up of what's going on — what the situation is. A scenario is pretty similar to a situation, but a scenario hasn't happened yet and might not happen at all.

What are potential safeguarding issues in children? ›

What are the main types of abuse?
  • Physical abuse. A form of abuse which may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating or otherwise causing physical harm to a child. ...
  • Emotional abuse. ...
  • Sexual abuse. ...
  • Neglect.
Nov 11, 2019

What are other safeguarding issues? ›

Specific safeguarding issues
  • Child abuse.
  • Child sexual and criminal exploitation.
  • Children missing from home and from education.
  • Domestic abuse.
  • Female genital mutilation, honour based violence and forced marriage.
  • Sex and relationships.
  • Substance misuse.

How do you answer child safeguarding questions in an interview? ›

Tips for answering safeguarding interview questions
  1. Read and familiarise yourself with the school's safeguarding policy.
  2. Provide example situations.
  3. Be honest with your answers.
  4. Be mindful of confidentiality.
Jun 9, 2022

What is the most important part of safeguarding? ›

Preventing neglect, harm and abuse is the core function of safeguarding, which makes prevention of course the most important element of safeguarding.

What would you do if a child discloses an issue to you in confidence? ›

Reassure the child, but only so far as is honest and reliable. Don't make promises that you can't be sure to keep, e.g. "everything will be all right now". Reassure the child that they did nothing wrong and that you take what is said seriously. Don't promise confidentiality – never agree to keep secrets.

What are 3 open-ended questions? ›

Examples of open-ended questions include:
  • Tell me about your relationship with your supervisor.
  • How do you see your future?
  • Tell me about the children in this photograph.
  • What is the purpose of government?
  • Why did you choose that answer?

What are open-ended answers examples? ›

Open-ended questions are broad and can be answered in detail (e.g. "What do you think about this product?"), while closed-ended questions are narrow in focus and usually answered with a single word or a pick from limited multiple-choice options (e.g. "Are you satisfied with this product?" → Yes/No/Mostly/Not quite).

What are the 6 principles of child safeguarding? ›

These are – Empowerment, Prevention, Proportionality, Prevention, Protection and Partnership. By adopting these six principles of safeguarding, we can make sure that we try our best to protect the vulnerable from abuse.

What is the main aim of safeguarding? ›

Aims of Adult Safeguarding

The statutory guidance describes safeguarding as 'protecting an adult's right to live in safety, free from abuse and neglect'.

What is the 3 point test safeguarding? ›

Does the individual recognise that there is a problem? Are they able to identify and communicate this to another trusted person? Can they say no; or act to stop the situation. Is another individual pressurising them to do something against their will; or to act in a way that is detrimental to their wellbeing.

What is the best and most reliable method of safeguarding? ›

Protective Clothing and Personal Protective Equipment

Engineering controls, that eliminate the hazard at the source and do not rely on the worker's behavior for their effectiveness offer the best and most reliable means of safeguarding.

Who is responsible for safeguarding? ›

Local Authorities have statutory responsibility for safeguarding. In partnership with health they have a duty to promote wellbeing within local communities.

What are 2 safeguarding policies? ›

These include:
  • recognising and responding to abuse.
  • responding to allegations of abuse made against a child.
  • recruiting the right people to work and volunteer with children.
  • preventing and responding to bullying.
  • responding to concerns about online abuse.

What are the different types of safeguarding? ›

The four main types of abuse that are covered in safeguarding are physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse and neglect.

What is an example of a safeguarding question for interview? ›

Questions You Could Be Asked

What are your attitudes to child protection and safeguarding? How have these developed over time? Can you tell me about a time when a child behaved in a way that caused you concern? How did you deal with this situation?

What is safeguarding in dementia? ›

This feature emphasises the importance of treating a person with dementia with dignity, maintaining their human rights and ensuring that appropriate safeguards are put in place to protect them in their home and from abuse.

What are 5 examples of safeguarding? ›

What are Safeguarding Issues? Examples of safeguarding issues include bullying, radicalisation, sexual exploitation, grooming, allegations against staff, incidents of self-harm, forced marriage, and FGM. These are the main incidents you are likely to come across, however, there may be others.

What are the 3 C's in safeguarding? ›

Understanding the risks to children

Areas for online risks can be categorised into the 3 C's - Content, Contact and Conduct, and can be commercial, aggressive or sexual in nature as shown in the table below.

What are the 4 P's of safeguarding? ›

Four of the six safeguarding principles, The Four P's-Partnership, Prevention, Proportionality and Protection. We throw these principles around in our daily safeguarding speak but what do they actually mean in relation to adult safeguarding? It is better to take action before harm occurs.

How do you support others during the safeguarding process? ›

Be there, be respectful, listen & ask questions so they know people care about them and don't see them as “just another victim”. This may all sound complicated but it's actually really simple once you get used to doing it.


1. What is Safeguarding? - Safeguarding in Schools #1
2. What Is Safeguarding? (Adult Safeguarding)
(MTD Training)
3. Because you said something
(Surrey County Council)
4. Child Safeguarding Definition
(Tusla - Child and Family Agency)
5. Child Safeguarding: Do's and Don'ts
(UNICEF Sudan)
6. Understanding safeguarding 4 of 5: Signs and Indicators


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