Each year Cambridge University Press & Assessment (“Cambridge”) has contact with a huge number of children and adults through its examination and learning systems. We want everyone to feel welcome and safe in those experiences.
Cambridge is committed to promoting the welfare of children and vulnerable adults. This includes helping to protect them from the possibility of abuse and taking appropriate action when we become aware of concerns relating to their wellbeing.
This document outlines the approach and guidance adopted by Cambridge to ensure individuals can enjoy and benefit from their learning and assessment with the minimum risk of a safeguarding issue arising. In matters of safeguarding the safety and welfare of the child or vulnerable person is always the paramount consideration.
Cambridge takes its responsibility to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and vulnerable adults very seriously. To this end, we have developed a Safeguarding Policy that states that we will:
- Have designated Safeguarding Officers who ensure that issues related to Safeguarding are followed through promptly.
- Have access to up to date information from UK government and regulatory bodies.
- Have clear procedures in place to ensure that all concerns get referred to and recorded by the Safeguarding Team.
- Have clear guidelines as to what to do if someone contacts us with an allegation.
- Ensure that police and Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check requirements are known and met for all relevant staff.
- Include instructions on conducting safe assessments in our training materials for examiners, inspectors and supervisors/invigilators.
- Where we share responsibilities with other organisations, we ensure they are clearly identified and documented.
- Review Safeguarding procedures every year.
We will contact appropriate authorities in the case of criminal matters.
The following terms used in this document are defined as follows:
Cambridge products – any product produced and/or assessed by Cambridge Assessment English, Cambridge Assessment International Education, OCR, CEM, Cambridge University Press . For more information, please see our public website. For IELTS, please see the IELTS website at ielts.org
Cambridge Representative – any permanent or temporary member of staff, consultant, freelancer or contractor, any assessor or any other person whose activities and/or reason for coming into contact with vulnerable groups is substantively defined or controlled by Cambridge.
Candidate – A person who has been registered for a Cambridge assessment.
Child – a child or young person is defined as a person below the age of eighteen years, as set out in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Learner – a person using a Cambridge learning product.
Remote Proctoring – this term refers to the online invigilation of candidates (i.e. not a traditional in-centre invigilator).
Safeguarding – the act of putting policies, procedures, training and appropriate people in place to minimise the possibility of abuse and to deal appropriately with concerns when they arise.
Vulnerable adult – a vulnerable adult is defined in Section 59 of the UK Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act as a person aged 18 or over who:
- is living in residential accommodation, such as a care home or a residential special school
- is living in sheltered housing
- is receiving domiciliary care in his or her own home
- is receiving any form of health care
- is detained in a prison, remand centre, young offender institution, secure training centre or attendance centre or under the powers of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
- is in contact with probation services
- is receiving a welfare service of a description to be prescribed in regulations
- is receiving a service or participating in an activity which is specifically targeted at people with age-related needs, disabilities or prescribed physical or mental health conditions or expectant or nursing mothers living in residential care (age-related needs includes needs associated with frailty, illness, disability or mental capacity)
- is receiving direct payments from a local authority/HSS body in lieu of social care services
- requires assistance in the conduct of his or her own affairs.
Cambridge recognises the rights of the child or vulnerable adult including:
- the right to be given the support required to be healthy, stay safe, enjoy and achieve through learning and make a positive contribution to society
- protection from abuse and exploitation
- the support of all adults in their needs for care and protection from harm or abuse
- the right to study for and obtain qualifications without fear of abuse, harm or neglect.
- respect and promote the rights of children and vulnerable adults
- implement and promote appropriate procedures to safeguard the well-being of children and vulnerable adults and protect them from abuse
- support Cambridge Representatives in compliance with internal policy to safeguard and protect children and vulnerable adults as far as possible in respect of Cambridge’s educational endeavours
- raise safeguarding concerns with schools, centres, other suppliers and relevant authorities where appropriate
- review and evaluate their policies on a regular basis.
Code of Conduct
All Cambridge Representatives are expected to uphold the highest levels of professional conduct in their dealings with children or vulnerable adults.
- Avoiding any physical, verbal or other conduct (face to face or online) that could be construed as abusive.
- Not placing themselves in situations where they are open to false allegations.
- Protecting vulnerable individuals from possible abuse by others.
When in direct contact with children or vulnerable adults, Cambridge Representatives must:
- comply with any relevant laws regarding safeguarding in the countries where they are operating
- be aware of the effect that their words and actions may have
- be approachable, whilst maintaining a physical and professional distance
- always work in an open environment, avoiding private or unobserved situations and encouraging an open environment for activities
- treat all children and vulnerable adults equally, with respect and dignity
- immediately escalate safeguarding concerns to the relevant person in authority, for example the Centre Exams Manager, and the Cambridge Safeguarding team.
Candidates are also required to behave appropriately in assessments and understand that their assessment may be terminated if necessary.
Cambridge Representatives should never:
- be left unaccompanied with children or vulnerable adults*
- be unnecessarily inquisitive
- make comments that could be misinterpreted, such as about an individual’s appearance
- arrange assessments or learning at times that fall outside the normal timetable parameters of the centre.
- meet a candidate other than in the agreed assessment venue at the agreed time
- exchange contact details.
*Please note that under current legislation Cambridge are unable to obtain DBS certificates for all their Representatives. All exam centres must ensure that Cambridge Representatives are accompanied at all times on the centre premises.
Concerns or disclosures arising from inappropriate activities at centres
On occasion, a concern at a centre or school or during provision of any other assessment or learning may arise out of an activity that a Cambridge Representative is observing or carrying out. Examples include a Speaking examination or a centre inspection.
If an activity being observed raises cause for concern, or there is cause for concern during the carrying out of an assessment, the Cambridge Representative will need to consider whether to stop the assessment or learning session prior to completion. No activity should continue that might be seen as raising safeguarding issues, or putting anyone at risk of harm or abuse.
The Cambridge Representative will inform the person in charge immediately and contact the Cambridge Safeguarding team if an assessment is stopped early for safeguarding reasons.
Security for remote testing for under 18s and vulnerable adults
Some Cambridge products require remote testing.
- During remote testing, no one should behave inappropriately, for example they must not take down information about another person outside of agreed workflows, or otherwise act outside their specific instructions and responsibility related to the assessment or learning.
- Any comments by a Cambridge Representative deemed by a candidate or learner to be unprofessional must be reported to the Cambridge Safeguarding team.
- All candidates will be informed of any recordings (video or audio) made of proctored assessments, the purposes for which they are made and for how long they will be retained. For under-18s the consent of a parent or guardian will be required. This could be captured in the sign-up process, for example.
- Where on-screen identity checks are required, all candidates will be informed of this process and how their information will be used and protected.
- Where there is a face to face, live interaction with an examiner or assessor, or a live human proctor:
- Before the assessment, candidates who are under 18s or vulnerable adults will have agreed upon live proctoring as the method for their assessment delivery (for example completing a consent form).
- A chaperone process will be required for these candidates, the chaperone must be over 18.
- The chaperone should be present during the set-up phase of the assessment. and ideally they will be present throughout the whole exam. If the chaperone is not present throughout, they must be contactable by the candidate at any point during the exam.
- There must be a process in place to report problems during and after the exam with appropriate escalation channels.
- Do not continue an assessment with a person whom you do not feel safe working with.
- Candidates are also required to behave appropriately in assessments and understand that their assessment may be terminated if the proctor deems it necessary.
Social Media and digital issues
Cambridge has several digital channels for connecting with customers:
- Facebook, Instagram and Twitter Fans must be aged 13 upwards. Please check the relevant platform’s policy for further information.
- In-country Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages often upload pictures of candidates and their certificates, or in some cases candidates/centres upload them themselves. All country offices’ Facebook pages which feature candidates under 18 years of age have procedures in place to gain permission from parents/guardians before the candidates are featured on Facebook.
- Cambridge always collects consent from parents or guardians for any case studies used in marketing materials which feature photos and details of people under 18 years of age, and vulnerable adults.
- Any concerning contact over a social media channel relating to Cambridge should be reported to the Cambridge Safeguarding team.
The role of the Cambridge Safeguarding team
Cambridge’s Safeguarding team will:
- where appropriate, contact centres or other suppliers if any concerns are raised about the wellbeing of their candidates
- maintain appropriate confidential records of any safeguarding incident and resulting actions and correspondence.
Contacting the Cambridge Safeguarding team
If you have information that causes concern about the welfare of a child or vulnerable adult, please submit the Child or Vulnerable Adult Incident form as soon as possible and we will treat it as a priority.
Please note that this form is not for emergencies. If the person is in danger, please contact your local emergency services immediately.
We last updated this Safeguarding Policy in August 2021.