Safeguarding Policy




This Policy should be considered in the context that because of the length of the apprenticeship, no candidates under the age of 18 will be expected to take the end point assessment (EPA). For that reason minors are not dealt with explicitly. In addition as provider of EPAs which will take place in an assessment centre rather than the workplace, Kaplan will have only very limited contact with SQE candidates.


The term ‘Safeguarding’ describes the preventative and precautionary approach to planning and procedures that are necessary to be in place to protect children, young people and vulnerable adults from potential harm or damage within the legal framework set out in legislation including the Children Acts 1989 and 2004 and Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006.


Safeguarding means having a culture of vigilance where all staff know their responsibilities and act accordingly and ensuring all relevant individuals are aware of what they can expect and what to do if they have concerns.


About this Policy


The purpose of this document is to set out Kaplan SQE’s policy for the safeguarding of SQE candidates, including apprentices, in connection with the delivery of the SQE.


Kaplan SQE is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of SQE candidates and expects all staff, contractors and subcontractors involved in the delivery of the SQE to share this commitment.


Kaplan SQE believes that all SQE candidates have a right to protection from abuse, regardless of age, race, religion, ability, gender, language, background or sexual identity and considers the welfare of children, young people and vulnerable adults as paramount.


Scope of this Policy

This Policy confers responsibility on all staff, examiners, assessors, contractors, consultants and other individuals working on behalf of Kaplan SQE or its subcontractors involved in the delivery of the SQE whose role involves contact with SQE candidates.




Lead Safeguarding Officer: The Kaplan SQE staff member who has overall accountability and strategic responsibility for the safeguarding of SQE candidates; and


Vulnerable Adult: An individual aged 18 or over who needs care and support whether or not they currently receive it; is experiencing, or is at risk of abuse or neglect; and can’t protect themselves from abuse or neglect because of their care and support needs.


Safeguarding Principles

Kaplan SQE shall:


Ensure that all SQE candidates, including apprentices, are able to undertake the SQE safely and securely regardless of their gender, ability, race, sexuality, ethnicity, circumstances or age.


Recognise in particular its responsibility to safeguard the wellbeing of Vulnerable Adults who undertake the SQE by ensuring that there are appropriate arrangements in place to enable it to discharge its duty to provide a safe and secure environment.


Communicate its standards to relevant individuals in scope of this Policy.


Carry out appropriate background checks of relevant individuals in scope of this Policy where appropriate.


Take prompt action where it believes that a Vulnerable Adult is at risk of abuse or harm or has been harmed.


Require incidents relevant to this Policy to be reported in a timely way both internally and to the appropriate authorities, linked to proper recording of the relevant details.


Work with others and share information where appropriate and legally permissible to protect Vulnerable Adults. This could include law enforcement agencies where necessary.


Prohibit any form of bullying or any form of discrimination in connection with the SQE.


Reject the use of child or forced labour in connection with the SQE.


Ensure that its safeguarding policies and procedures reflect good practice in protecting Vulnerable Adults and that safeguarding arrangements are proportionate and based upon common sense.


Who are we Safeguarding?


Kaplan SQE shall ensure it provides a safe and secure environment for all SQE candidates, including apprentices.


Kaplan SQE recognises that safeguarding practices are applied to vulnerable groups. In the event that Kaplan SQE is made aware that any candidate is a Vulnerable Adult, it shall put in place additional measures as provided for by this Policy and associated procedures.


What are we Safeguarding from?


Kaplan SQE is committed to taking action where it believes a Vulnerable Adult is at risk of abuse or harm. Abuse or harm includes, but is not limited to, the following:


Physical abuse;


Emotional abuse;




Sexual abuse or inappropriate relationships;




Bullying, including cyber bullying;




Self-harm; and


Unsuitable housing or homelessness.


Appendix A to this Policy sets out guidelines for recognising signs of abuse, including the above, which individuals in scope of this Policy should be aware of when in contact with SQE candidates.


Safeguarding Responsibilities


The SQE Academic Director is the Lead Safeguarding Officer, with overall responsibility for safeguarding issues at Kaplan SQE.


The Lead Safeguarding Officer shall:


Implement and promote this policy across Kaplan SQE, ensuring staff are aware of this policy, its contents and their responsibility under it;


Implement appropriate adjustments to any SQE assessment in the event that Kaplan SQE is made aware that any candidate is a Vulnerable Adult to protect that candidate;


Ensure any concerns are shared with the Solicitors Regulation Authority and other partner organisations where appropriate;


Refer cases of suspected harm or abuse to the relevant investigating agencies and act as a source of support, advice and expertise within Kaplan SQE;


Maintain confidential records of relevant cases and actions taken; and


Undertake appropriate Safeguarding training to recognise the signs of abuse and to know the apporpriate action to take if they have concerns.


Any individuals who come across signs of potential or actual harm or abuse in respect of Vulnerable Adults undertaking the SQE or who have concerns in respect of the wellbeing of any SQE candidate should report this to the Lead Safeguarding Officer as quickly as possible.


The Lead Safeguarding Officer will invoke appropriate procedures to protect the relevant individuals and discuss the case with the Kaplan SQE Senior Leadership Team where appropriate.


Referrals to social services, the police or the statutory authorities should be made by the Lead Safeguarding Officer in consultation with the Kaplan SQE Senior Leadership Team.


When any individual in scope for this Policy is unsure and needs guidance about safeguarding issues, they are encouraged to seek guidance from the Lead Safeguarding Officer.


In the event that the Lead Safeguarding Officer is unavailable the Head of Quality and Equality shall assume responsibility for safeguarding matters and compliance with this Policy.


Recruitment of Staff

Kaplan SQE complies with good practice in the recruitment and training of its staff and contractors and requires the same of its subcontractors. All staff receive safeguarding training appropriate to their role.


Related Policies and Procedures

This policy should be used in conjunction with the following Kaplan policies and procedures:

  • Prevent Policy
  • Equality & Diversity Policy
  • Data Protection Policy
  • Acceptable Use IT Policy
  • Health & Safety Policy
  • Whistleblowing Policy
  • Code of Business Conduct
  • Dignity at Work Policy

Policy Review and Publication

The safeguarding situation in terms of both statutory regulation and emerging risk factors is changing rapidly. It is essential therefore that this Policy is kept under constant review by the Lead Safeguarding Officer and circulated to Kaplan SQE Senior Leadership Team for annual review. This policy shall be published on the SQE website.

Appendix A: Guidelines for Recognising Signs of Abuse

It can often be difficult to recognise abuse. The signs listed in these guidelines are only indicators and many can have reasonable explanations. It is nevertheless important to know what could indicate that abuse is taking place and to be alert to the need to consult further.

Someone can abuse an individual by actively inflicting harm or by failing to act to prevent harm. Abuse can take place within a family, in an institutional or community setting, by telephone or on the Internet. Abuse can be carried out by someone known to an individual or by a complete stranger.

If you are worried about a candidate, it is important that you keep a written record of any physical or behavioural signs and symptoms. In this way you can monitor whether or not a pattern emerges and provide evidence to any investigation if required.

Physical Abuse

Physical abuse can involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning, scalding, drowning, and suffocating. It can also result when a parent or carer deliberately causes the ill health of an individual in order to seek attention; this is called fabricated illness. Symptoms that indicate physical abuse include:

  • Bruising in or around the mouth, on the back, buttocks or rectal area
  • Fingermark bruising or grasp marks on the limbs or chest of a small child
  • Bites
  • Burn and scald marks; small round burns that could be caused by a cigarette
  • Fractures to arms, legs or ribs in a small child
  • Large numbers of scars of different sizes or ages

Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse happens when an individual’s need for love, security, praise and recognition is not met. It usually co-exists with other forms of abuse. Emotionally abusive behaviour occurs if a parent, carer or authority figure is consistently hostile, rejecting, threatening or undermining. It can also result when an individual is prevented from social contact with others, or if developmentally inappropriate expectations are imposed upon them. It may involve seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of someone else. Symptoms that indicate emotional abuse include:

  • Excessively clingy or attention-seeking behaviour
  • Very low self-esteem or excessive self-criticism
  • Excessively withdrawn behaviour or fearfulness; a ‘frozen watchfulness’
  • Despondency
  • Lack of appropriate boundaries with strangers; too eager to please
  • Eating disorders


Neglect is the persistent failure to meet an individual’s basic physical and/or psychological needs, causing damage to their health and development. It may involve a parent or carer failing to provide adequate food, shelter or clothing, failing to protect an individual from harm or danger, or failing to access appropriate medical care and treatment when necessary. It can exist in isolation or in combination with other forms of abuse. Symptoms of physical and emotional neglect can include:

  • Inadequate supervision; being left alone for long periods of time
  • Lack of stimulation, social contact or education
  • Inadequate nutrition, leading to ill-health
  • Constant hunger; stealing or gorging food
  • Failure to seek or to follow medical advice such that a child’s life or development is endangered
  • Inappropriate clothing for conditions

Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, whether or not the child/person is aware of what is happening. This may include physical contact, both penetrative and non-penetrative, or involve no contact, such as watching sexual activities or looking at pornographic material. Encouraging children/young people to act in sexually inappropriate ways is also abusive. Under the Sexual Offences Act 2003, any sexual activity – contact or non-contact – with a child under the age of 13, is a crime.

Symptoms of sexual abuse include:

  • Allegations or disclosure
  • Sexually transmitted diseases; urinary infections
  • Excessive preoccupation with sexual matters; inappropriately sexualized play, words or drawing
  • A child/young person who is sexually provocative or seductive with adults
  • Repeated sleep disturbances through nightmares and/or wetting

Older minors and young people may additionally exhibit:

  • Depression
  • Drug and/or alcohol abuse
  • Eating disorders; obsessive behaviours
  • Self- mutilation; suicide attempts
  • College/peer/relationship problems


Radicalisation is a process where a person, often from a vulnerable background begins to adopt extreme political, religious, or social view(s) and through these - engage in extremist activity. Their views will often be formed through misguidance, misunderstanding, jealousy, anger, a ‘sense of injustice’, resentment or fear.

The following are some signs that could mean somebody could be at risk of radicalisation or is going through a radicalisation process:

Physical changes:

  • Sudden or gradual change in physical appearance
  • Sudden or unexpectedly wearing religious attire
  • Getting tattoos displaying various messages
  • Unexpectedly growing a beard
  • Unexpectedly shaving their head (skinhead)
  • Possesses unexplained gifts and clothing (groomers will sometimes use gifts such as mobile phones and clothing to bribe a young person)

Social changes:

  • Cuts ties with their friends, family or community
  • Starts to become socially withdrawn
  • Becoming dependent on social media and the internet
  • Begins to associate with others who hold radical views
  • Bullies or demonises other people freely
  • Begins to attend rallies and demonstrations for extremist causes
  • Associates with known radicals
  • Visits extremist websites, networks and blogs

Emotional Changes

  • Begins to complain, often with anger, about governmental policies, especially foreign policy
  • Advocates violence or criminal behaviour
  • Begins to believe in government conspiracies
  • Exhibits erratic behaviour such as paranoia and delusion
  • Speaks about seeking revenge
  • Starts to exhibit extreme religious intolerance
  • Demonstrates sympathy to radical groups
  • Displays hatred or intolerance of other people or communities because they are different

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Ready to register for the SQE?

Create your personal SQE account and book your assessments.

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Have you passed the SQE?

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