CofE Safeguarding

Developing state of the art education and training solutions

The Setting 

The Church of England is a large, diverse, community-oriented organisation. It has in the region of 25,000 clergy and other ministers, 80,000 volunteers, and employs 2,700 staff. Over 100,000 children and young people engage with activities connected to it. It is also a highly complex organisation with a distinct culture.  

The Challenge

Because of the scale of the organisation and its regular involvement with local, regional, and national communities, the Church of England’s national safeguarding team needed to develop a training resource to equip its staff. A safeguarding resource would cover the ‘basics’ and ‘next steps’ and be deliverable to staff, clergy, and volunteers throughout the Church, both nationally and globally. The reach and impact of the training provision would be huge.   

Lisa Clarke is the National Safeguarding Training, Learning and Development Manager for the Church of England, responsible for developing learning resources about safeguarding. At the time, the Church didn’t have a strategy for safeguarding. Lisa needed an adaptive, innovative solution. To achieve this, she would need an expert in learning technologies with in-depth knowledge of the Church’s distinctive culture and values. Someone who spoke her language. 

Lisa approached Simon in 2015. 


Working closely with Lisa, Simon built a suite of elearning resources for safeguarding: ‘Basic Safeguarding Awareness’ and ‘Foundations’, two high volume courses. Simon also built a module on ‘Raising Awareness of Domestic Abuse’, and a further module on safer recruitment and safe people management. In addition, he curated and created a virtual library of safeguarding resources as well as a portal. Lisa and her team are currently in the process of rolling out a learning management system which can administer safeguarding training through the portal designed by Simon. The results have been outstanding. At every stage of development, Lisa has been delighted by Simon’s work: ‘He takes my ideas and turns them into something user-friendly and beautiful’. 

The impact of working with Simon 

Simon and Lisa have been working together to build and develop safeguarding elearning resources for eight years now, from a basic elearning resource to what Lisa now describes as the ‘internationally regarded pinnacle of safeguarding training for faith communities’. 

The resource Simon developed is used globally and is the quality standard worldwide.

Lisa quickly recognised the advantages of working with Simon. ‘He understands the church context, adult learning, and how to build user-friendly elearning resources’. ‘We use Simon’, Lisa explains, ‘because of his widespread understanding of these different dimensions, which means I don’t have to explain my context. His ability to understand the context in which I’m working saves me a phenomenal amount of time’.

Lisa believes that the CofE’s safeguarding strategy was only able to be delivered because of Simon’s work. ‘Because of the sheer volume of people this involves, it would have been impossible to implement our strategy without Simon’. So far, 260,000 people have completed the training he developed.  

Because the CofE is a charity, it was important to find an elearning expert who understood the financial reality this presented. Simon proved to be cost effective, able to compete with others at tender because he understands the context and the charitable status of the organisation. ‘He is realistic and not out to make a fast buck’. 

What it’s like to work with Simon?

‘Simon saves me an inordinate amount of time’, Lisa says. ‘He’s able to take my skeleton ideas and bring them to life’.

‘Nothing is ever a problem for him’, she adds. ‘He never delays; you never have to chase him for anything. Whatever is done is done creatively and very thoughtfully, and the end result is globally renowned’.  

When asked whether she would recommend Simon, Lisa doesn’t hesitate: ‘Absolutely!’ And then adds, jokingly: ‘But I don’t want to recommend Simon, because I want to keep him to myself!’. 

His level of diligence is phenomenal, she goes on. ‘He immerses himself in the environment he’s working in so he can give his best’. 

‘He’s really passionate about what he does and would be my natural recommendation’.