Northern Synod believes that children, young people and adults have a right to live in a way that does not cause them harm or impede their human rights. We therefore acknowledge their right to protection from abuse regardless of gender, ethnicity, disability, sexuality or beliefs. We consider that, in accordance with legislation, the welfare of children and adults at risk is paramount. We will follow legislation, statutory guidance and recognised good practice. We believe that domestic abuse in all its forms is unacceptable and inconsistent with a Christian way of living. Safeguarding is taken seriously by Northern Synod.

A revised Synod Safeguarding Policy was accepted by Synod on 16 March 2019.


Matt Knowles
telephone: 07761-525592

The advisor is available to provide guidance upon any safeguarding situation faced by the churches, as well as to offer training, information and advice about safeguarding matters in our synod.

The United Reformed Church (Northern Province) Trust Limited has published its own Safeguarding Policy, which incorporates the Synod’s policy.

Handbook for Churches – this takes you to reference material, policies and draft templates. Everything you need to know should be here!

URC website pages dealing with recruitment and selection issues and DBS applications

Good Practice 5

The link to policy and good practice guidance in safeguarding children, young people and adults at risk is here

Good Practice 5

Incident / Concern form

Foundation online E-learning package

“Welcome” to the online e-learning package for the Safeguarding foundation course.

All you need is a device and a connection to the internet.  This connection doesn’t need to be at home – you can do this training at someone else’s home, in a church, in a library, in a coffee shop or even on a bus!!!  Wherever and whenever suits you best.  The training doesn’t have to be done in one sitting – you can do it in bite sized chunks, when and where it suits you! At the end of the training there is a short quiz and then you are asked to enter you details. That’s it!!  You then send a message off to Church House via the press of a button and you will then receive your very own certificate and the records updated that you have completed your training.

It’s really easy.

All you need to do is to select from one of the options below.  There are 3 to choose from – the first two are in relation to what sort of device you are using.  The third option is a narrated version where there is no need to read the training – you can just sit back and let someone read it to you.  All three work in the same way and have the same conclusion at the end.  So, all you need to do is to select which option suits you best, move your cursor over the blue coloured link, press the CTRL button your keyboard (which is usually at the bottom left) and press the button on your mouse.  Just complete the training in your own time and wherever you want.  All I would suggest that if you are using the narrated option and you are in a public place you may want to use some earphones!!

So here are the links:–

Foundation Course for a Laptop or Desktop Computer Safeguarding Foundation E-Course (

Foundation Course for a phone or tablet Safeguarding Foundation E-Course for phone and tablet (

Narrated version of the Foundation Course with voice over for each slide Safeguarding Foundation E-Course narrated version (

If there are any issues in relation to the above or you have any questions, then this particular area of safeguarding training is being overseen by Paula Kitson, the synod safeguarding support officer.  Paula can be contacted on her email if you have any concerns or queries relating to the e-learning package.  Paula’s email address is

Foundation and Intermediate Training via Zoom

The following dates are now available for both foundation and intermediate training via Zoom.

If you wish to book a place, please contact Paula Kitson:

Courses are limited to 20 in number and are filling up fast so if you wish to attend, please book as soon as possible.

Foundation       Thursday, 10 November 10 am – 12 pm

Intermediate     Tuesday, 25 October 10 am – 12.30 pm

Intermediate     Wednesday, 2 November 1 pm – 3.30 pm

Intermediate      Monday, 5 December 10 am – 12.30 pm

Safeguarding Training for Elders

A Safeguarding for Elders package has been developed by Carrie Kaunda, the URC Safeguarding Training and Development Co-ordinator.

The package will be launched via a webinar and there are two available dates – one during the day and one on an evening.

Each webinar lasts between 60 and 90 minutes and there will be time for questions at the end of the session.

The webinars are being held on:

Tuesday, 14 June 2022 at 7.30 pm

Thursday, 21 July 2022 at 2 pm

These sessions can be booked by contacting Carrie directly via email:

Intermediate Safeguarding Training Package and additional Basic Training Sessions

On the back of the Foundation (Basic) Safeguarding Training packages that were made available to all persons from the URC in the past 12 months there has now been compiled an intermediate safeguarding training package.

This package follows on from the content of the foundation training based within Good Practice 5 and covers more in depth areas of safeguarding for use within the local church.  The course content is divided into various areas – all taken from GP5.  The duration is around 2.5 hours long and there will be adequate breaks to get drinks etc – as well as giving you time away from listening to Matt if needed!!

This training again is initially going to be provided through an online format.  However, as we move into 2022 an assessment will be made in relation to training also being provided in a face to face environment.  Watch this space for updates in relation to this!!

Everyone who attended the previous training is invited to attend and obtain this training.  Please note however – to be able to attend this training you will have needed to have been on a basic course in the past 3 years.  Therefore, the intermediate training is only available for those whose training is up to date.

To cater for this, we will also be providing some more sessions of basic training for those who need this input – either because you haven’t had it before or indeed if you need a refresher input due to the 3-year guidance.

To assist with the question of who needs to attend the different levels of safeguarding training could we please direct you to Paper T5 from the most recent General Assembly.  This paper provides guidance in relation to the safeguarding training framework for the URC.  The link is here  if you want to read it but for those who just need to know if they need to attend the training we have added the details for you as follows:

Roles requiring mandatory training Foundation (Basic) Intermediate Advanced
Church safeguarding coordinators X X
Deputy church safeguarding coordinators X X
Members of Synod Safeguarding Committees X
Active Ministers and CRCWs (including retired ministers who meet the requirements of active ministry) X X
Youth and Children Workers including volunteer leaders X X X
Youth and Children’s Workers (volunteer helpers) ** X X
Adult Workers including volunteer leaders X X
Adult Workers (volunteer helpers) ** X X
Pastoral Workers / Visitors X X
Worship Leaders and Assembly Accredited Lay Preachers X X
URC Trustees and Synod Trustees X
Elders as local church trustees X

** those helping at a holiday club, assisting occasionally with Sunday school, running a craft activity at Messy Church, running the tuck shop at a youth group, helpers at a craft club / lunch / trip, etc, where it is clear these people are in ‘helper’ roles are always working in the presence of, and under the supervision of, a ‘leader’.

Hopefully the above makes it easy for each church to understand who from its congregation must have attended safeguarding training.  If it’s unclear or you need further guidance on this matter please contact Matt Knowles, the Synod safeguarding advisor who will be pleased to assist.  Please remember, church safeguarding training must be refreshed every three years.  For those members of local churches who haven’t attended the training in the past 3 years please endeavour to do so.  Again, any queries please speak with Matt.

All courses are booked via the Synod office.  Please contact Wendy via email to confirm your places on

The dates for the upcoming courses are as follows – (please note all are via Zoom)

Foundation Training –

Wednesday 13 April 2022 – 1 pm to 3.30 pm

Monday 16 May 2022 – 10 am to 12 pm

Intermediate Training –

Thursday 7 April 2022 – 10 am to 12.30 pm

Monday 25 April 2022 – 1 pm to 3.30 pm

Thursday 5 May 2022 – 1 pm to 3.30 pm

Thursday 12 May 2022 – 10 am to 12.30 pm

Tuesday 24 May 2022 – 1 pm to 3.30 pm

Safeguarding Training

At present, Northern Synod uses the Methodist Church Safeguarding training materials.

We provide a Foundation Module which should be attended every three years by all who work directly with children or adults who may be vulnerable in church.

We also provide a Leadership or advanced Module which is for those with explicit responsibility for safeguarding within their church, particularly active ministers and church safeguarding leads.  Again, this should be refreshed on a three yearly basis.

Foundation Module 2016 Edition

The focus of this training is to promote awareness of possible safeguarding concerns.

This training aims to equip all adults, both volunteer and paid, working in different roles in the Methodist Church to feel confident to share safeguarding concerns with the appropriate person.

The Creating Safer Space Foundation Module 2016 Edition training will help you:
• know that safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility and integral to being church
• have a better understanding of good safeguarding practice within the Methodist Church
• know when to have concerns about the safety and welfare of a child or adult
• appreciate your responsibility for sharing concerns about a child or adult
• be aware of who in the church to go to with any concerns
• recognise potential blocks within the church to responding well

Advanced Module 2018 Edition

Course structure
This Creating Safer Space Advanced Module course is split into three parts:
• Essential preparation (1 hour 30 minutes)
• Core learning session (4 hours)
• Handbook (a resource for further study)

The aim of the Advanced Module is to consolidate and develop your previous safeguarding learning and to:
• explore what this means in your designated role of responsibility within the Church
• further equip you with skills and resources to be confident in promoting good practice in the Church and community
• extend your understanding of responding well to different groups within the Church community.

Engagement with all three elements of the Advanced Module will enable you to meet these aims.

Booking Form for Advanced Module: Spring 2019

Safeguarding Updates
Safeguarding Newsletter – Northern December 2019
Northern Newsletter May 2020

Safeguarding newsletter October 2021


Find Church