Purpose and scope of this policy statement
FutureLearn is an online learning platform whose purpose is to transform access to education. We are driven by a social learning pedagogy which means that learners are encouraged to comment and converse with each other via the comments in courses.
Learners can be aged 13 years upwards.
The purpose of this policy is:
- to protect children and vulnerable adults who receive FutureLearn’s services from harm.
- to present the overarching principles that guide our approach to child protection.
Who this policy applies to
- anyone delivering a course on FutureLearn’s platform (including partners and those working on behalf of them, including volunteers)
- anyone directly inviting learners on to courses (including schools/teachers, charities, and organisations)
This policy has been drawn up on the basis of legislation, policy and guidance that seeks to protect children in England. A summary of the key legislation is available from nspcc.org.uk/learning
We believe we have a responsibility to promote the welfare of all who use our services, and provide a safe learning environment that protects those who are most vulnerable.
FutureLearn is committed to safeguarding children and vulnerable adults who use our services and we take a zero-tolerance approach to any form of bullying, harassment, sexual exploitation or abuse.
All adults have a responsibility to respond when they are concerned that a child may be at risk of harm
We recognise that:
- the welfare of children is paramount in all the work we do and in all the decisions we take
- all children, regardless of age, disability, gender, race, religion or belief, sex, or sexual orientation have an equal right to protection from all types of harm or abuse
- some children are additionally vulnerable because of the impact of previous experiences, their level of dependency, communication needs or other issues
- working in collaboration with children, FutureLearn’s partners, and clients who use our services is essential in promoting best practice
You will seek to keep children and vulnerable adults safe by:
- valuing, listening to and respecting them
- monitoring the activity of child or vulnerable learners that you invite to the platform
- adopting child protection and safeguarding best practice through our policies, procedures and codes of conduct for users
- providing effective management for your staff and volunteers who will use FutureLearn through supervision, support, training and quality assurance measures, so that all staff and volunteers know about and follow our policies, procedures and behaviour codes confidently and competently
- recruiting and selecting staff, suppliers and volunteers safely, ensuring all necessary checks are made
- recording, storing and using information professionally and securely, in line with data protection legislation and guidance
- where appropriate, sharing information about safeguarding and good practice with learners via relevant areas of courses, comments, and email
- making sure that children and concerned users know where to go for help if they are worried
- using our safeguarding and child protection procedures to share concerns and relevant information with agencies who need to know
- using our procedures to report any allegations against staff, suppliers, partners, users and volunteers appropriately
- creating and maintaining an anti-bullying environment and following relevant policies and procedure to deal effectively with any bullying that does arise
- ensuring that you have effective complaints and whistleblowing measures in place at your own institution
Application of policy
To raise a safeguarding concern, please see the guide Safeguarding at FutureLearn. It is written for learners, but applies to you too.
FutureLearn’s guidance on the application of this policy is contained in the following documents:
- Role description for FutureLearn’s Designated Safeguarding Officer
- Safeguarding at FutureLearn
- Code of Conduct for all learners, including children and vulnerable adults
- Online safety
- Online bullying online advice
- Complaints process
You should have your own policies for:
- recording concerns and information sharing
- child protection records retention and storage
- escalation and whistleblowing process for staff
- safer recruitment
- induction, training, supervision and support in safeguarding at your institution.
Child Anyone who has not yet reached their 18th birthday
Clients Refers to customers who have purchased or otherwise been provided with FutureLearn’s services, such as Learning Manager, in order to offer access to learning
Safeguarding Refers to all of the actions we take to keep all children and vulnerable adults we come into contact with safe. It includes the proactive steps we take to they do not come to harm as a result of our contact with them.
Child Protection Refers to the actions we take when we have specific concerns that a
particular child is at risk of significant harm.
Partner Refers to FutureLearn’s partners who create and deliver courses
Suppliers refers to agencies who help to provide FutureLearn’s services, such as moderators
Vulnerable adults refers to adults who are at a higher level of risk due to their personal circumstances when they engage with us. Vulnerability is a changeable and contextual state but may include people with a diagnosed condition such as dementia or blindness, individuals with learning difficulties or literacy issues, or those who have a mental health condition such as severe anxiety or depression.
This policy statement came into force on 15/07/2020.
We are committed to reviewing our policy and good practice annually.
This policy statement and accompanying procedures were last reviewed on 15/07/2020.