Skip to main content

Safeguarding

Our commitment

We are committed to safeguarding and protecting the welfare of all candidates who take our exams. Underpinning this commitment is a robust system of governance, checks and controls and a culture of vigilance and professionalism, qualities we expect from all our staff, examiners and volunteers. 

This page summarises elements of our approach to safeguarding and provides information for schools and organisations hosting exams at Private Visits. 

We have been advised by our lawyers, specialist safeguarding experts and the NSPCC in the development of our policies and practice, and will continue to seek guidance so that we continue to meet best practice standards. 

If you have any questions about our Safeguarding Policy or provision, you can contact us at: [email protected] 

Rescheduling exams
Ways of working
Policies and practices
  • A safer recruitment policy which requires all potential examiners to supply contact details of two referees who can comment on their suitability to work with children 
  • Examiners are required to provide evidence of an Enhanced DBS with Barred List check prior to appointment. We re-check their DBS certificate every three years (via Status Check if they are signed up to the DBS Update Service) 
  • The right to renew any check sooner if any information comes to light which might alter an individual’s DBS status 
  • Examiners are given regular safeguarding updates as part of their continuing professional development 
  • Examiners are required to confirm that they have read, understood and agree to abide by the Policy and Code of Practice. 
  • A designated Safeguarding Person and three deputies, who are all members of the Safeguarding Review Committee, an internal group that is accountable through its Chair, the Chief Executive, to ABRSM’s Governing Body 
  • Annual safeguarding updates are given to our examiners and representatives. 
  • ABRSM’s full Safeguarding Policy and Online Safeguarding Policy Statement is available below.  
Putting examining into context

To minimise the risk of a safeguarding breach: 

  • examiners are not given contact details for candidates 
  • examiners often have only a very small amount of unsupervised contact with any one candidate, as accompanists or page-turners can also be in the exam room if required 
  • the only unsupervised contact in all exams is during delivery of tests containing confidential material (sight-reading and aural tests), scales or any unaccompanied pieces – often lasting only a few minutes, depending on the grade 
  • partial supervision is provided by the steward (appointed by the school/organisation holding a Private Visit ) who escorts candidates to and from the exam room 
  • we recommend that schools or organisations holding a Private Visit select a room with a window in the door for exam purposes, as this further safeguards examiner and candidate 
  • it is ABRSM policy to avoid sending examiners to assess the same candidates within two years, minimising the opportunity for examiners to recognise or get to know candidates 
  • examiners have no control over which venues or areas of the country they visit; this is decided by ABRSM 
  • Since 2020 examiners have been using a bespoke ABRSM app to deliver and mark practical exams. This has allowed us to issue results more quickly and automatically audio record all exams. During the exam, examiners will use ABRSM supplied iPads that: 
  1. are asset tagged to be identifiable as ABRSM property 
  2. are only loaded with the apps needed for examining, with all other functionality removed 
  3. are loaded with bespoke exam marking software that cannot be downloaded onto personal devices 
  4. have no data package; the bespoke app for examining is designed to work offline 
  5. have the camera disabled 
Identification and DBS checks

We know that schools and organisations holding Private Visits need to verify the identity of visiting examiners and confirm that they have been recruited and checked in accordance with ABRSM’s Safeguarding policy. We issue all examiners with ABRSM photo ID cards and it is a requirement that they carry this whenever they are working on behalf of ABRSM. We only issue ID cards to examiners who have gone through ABRSM’s safer recruitment processes and appropriate DBS checks. 

To make the ABRSM ID card a more robust form of ID, we have redesigned it. ID cards are re-issued every three years in line with the renewal of DBS checks and printed with a ‘watermark’ feature, to make them harder to duplicate - an example is given below. 

They will always contain the following information: 

  • recent photo of the examiner 
  • examiner name 
  • examiner code 
  • date of most recent check/re-check (valid from) 
  • DBS certificate number 
Policies, statements and report form

These child protection policy and procedure materials were drawn up in 2017 with the assistance and advice of the NSPCC and conform to current child protection legislation and guidance. The NSPCC cannot accept responsibility for the implementation and application of the procedures.  

Our examiners are required to obtain an enhanced DBS with barred list check on appointment to the practical panels and this is normally renewed every three years. Examiners are not required to take their DBS certificate with them when examining, but they should carry their ABRSM photo ID card with them at all times and should be prepared to present this on request. Examiners are only issued with photo ID cards once they have met our safe recruitment procedures, which includes evidence of the relevant DBS check. 

Useful references

NSPCC 

We are very grateful to the NSPCC for working with us to create our policy and for being a constant source of information and support, including a review of our full safeguarding policy in 2023. 

Further information and resources available from the NSPCC include: 

Guidance for schools relating to visitors employed by, or volunteering for, other organisations: School visitors and safeguarding | NSPCC Learning

A wide range of information and support services available to both children and organisations about safeguarding: https://learning.nspcc.org.uk/safeguarding-child-protection 

A team of information specialists that can be contacted for further advice or support: https://learning.nspcc.org.uk/services/information-service  

Government guidance 

Our Safeguarding Policy, Procedures and Code of Practice has also been influenced by government guidance: 

Don’t miss out!

Join our community today. Subscribe to our mailing list and be the first to receive updates on all the latest news from ABRSM

Cello with colourway