Child protection learning and development 2024: national framework

Framework to support multi-agency learning and development relevant to child protection in Scotland. This highlights key learning for all workforces according to the level of responsibility they have for child protection.

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Appendix D: Accessibility considerations

When developing training materials, consider the following tips and hints from learning and development practitioners with expertise and/or lived experience. They will help to make training materials accessible for everyone, including those who process information in non-typical or neurodivergent ways (e.g. people who are autistic, dyslexic, AD(H)D).


1. Where possible, use your Child Protection/Public Protection Committee's (or organisation's) branding colours, graphics or style. Making templates for slides and documents to use for all materials developed helps maintain consistency and recognition of source.

2. Be consistent in the use of colour. For example, if you use green for headings on one slide, use green for headings on all slides.

3. Avoid green/blue and red/green combinations. Many people have difficulty distinguishing them, e.g. it is best not to use blue text on a green background and vice versa. You should only use these combinations if the dark/light difference is significant enough to allow people to distinguish tone rather than colour (e.g. very pale green text on very dark blue background).

4. Many people find pale text on dark background easier to read. Consider this for text boxes - see also Layout section below.


1. Ensure you are complying with copyright rules. For guidance:

  • filter image searches by 'free to share and use' – images can be used without credit
  • filter image searches by 'all creative commons' – images can usually be used with credit (may need checking individually)
  • avoid images with watermarks from the copyright owner.

2. Ensure images are sufficient quality for the size you wish to display them at (avoiding them becoming overly-pixelated).

3. The more complex the image, the longer people will need to 'see'/process it.


1. Choose one or two simple fonts and stick to them. Accessible fonts include:

  • Arial
  • Calibri
  • Century Gothic
  • Gill Sans MT (particularly for ALL CAPITALS)
  • Segoe UI
  • Verdana
  • Yu Gothic UI

Comic Sansis accessible for many people with dyslexia but is also disliked by many others, so possibly best avoided!

2. Be consistent in how you use fonts, italics, bold, font size etc. (e.g. if you use Calibri 14pts italic for a quote on one slide, use Calibri 14pts italic for quotes on all slides). This is part of the visual cues to people as to what the information means, and how they are to process it.

3. Default to 'Align Left' for paragraphs. 'Centre' is useful for drawing attention to small sections of text (particularly combined with coloured text, text box etc). Avoid 'Justify' – this creates inconsistent spacing between words, which is distracting.

Interactive slide platforms:

1. There are many online interactive slide platforms which can be a useful way for participants to contribute in an online session.

2. Use a slide type that 'fits' with the kind of information you are asking people to input. For example:

  • only use Word Cloud where you are looking for one- or two-word responses that are likely to be repeated by numerous people
  • use multiple choice where you are looking for people to give one (or more) of a fixed set of possible responses.

3. If using an input slide with an animated presentation (e.g. a Word Cloud), wait for it to complete and become still before speaking to it. Whilst the silence may be disconcerting, your learners will be concentrating on entering their thoughts!

4. Consider using features such as "Pull Out" for emphasis (click to zoom in on) text entry responses. This helps make it clear what you are speaking to.

Animations (PowerPoint):

1. Some animations can aid processing information, whilst others can be distracting and make it more difficult for people to process information. The following tips reference MS PowerPoint animation names: other presentation software will have similar animation styles.

2. Choose one or two animation styles and stick to them.

3. In general, avoid 'busy' or flashing animations with multiple movements such as 'Teeter', 'Pulse', 'Swivel', 'Bounce'.

4. For text:

  • use animations that reveal words or paragraphs as a whole: e.g. 'Appear'
  • use animations that lead the eye in the same direction as reading: e.g. 'Fly in from left'
  • avoidanimations that reveal parts of the word/text (e.g. "Letter by letter", "split or random bars") particularly if they reveal in an order different to reading order, such as from bottom of paragraph to top.

For images:

  • Use animations that reveal the image as a whole: e.g. 'Appear', 'Grow and turn', 'Fade in' or 'Fly in'

5. If you have a lot of content on one slide, consider using animations in sequence to break it up and focus attention. For example:

  • add content in sequence, as you speak to it
  • 'Disappear' one piece of content before 'Appearing' the next
  • 'Darken', change font colour or 'Underline' on consecutive sentences or bullet points to draw attention to the content you are speaking to
  • 'Appear'/'disappear' a shape around or outlining the content you are speaking to.

6. Be consistent in your use of animations. For example, if you use 'Fly in from left' for text on one slide, it is best to avoid using 'Fly in..' from a different direction on another. If you use 'underline text' on one slide to highlight content, maintain 'underline text' for this same purpose.

7. Use 'Start on click' (rather than 'timed') animations to avoid them progressing out of synchronisation as you speak (unless it's a deliberate sequence of multiple animations without commentary).

8. Wait until the animation has completed and the text is still before speaking to it.


1. Use visual cues to group information together. For example:

  • space on the slide/page
  • shape outline
  • text on coloured shape
  • font / size / colour

Separating out different kinds of information visually can help people to process it.

2. Use page breaks / margin size to avoid running associated text or tables across multiple pages where possible.

3. Break up large amounts of text e.g. use of bullet points, paragraph breaks, call out boxes, or by highlighting key words in paragraphs, e.g. using bold, bold colour, font size etc. (but be consistent!).

4. Be careful and consistent with aligning text, images, shapes and so on, to avoid distracting differences, particularly on the same page or slide. Use alignment guides, gridlines, show paragraph markings to help you.


1. To avoid misunderstandings or ambiguities, be mindful that language used is appropriate and relevant to your audience. For example:

  • Even seemingly simple words may have 'technical' or professional meanings or connotations that are not understood by the public or staff new into role
  • Technical and professional terminology that may be understood by all participants in a single-agency General Workforce training setting, may not be understood by all participants in a multi-agency General Workforce training setting
  • Abbreviations may mean different things to different staff groups (e.g. LAC is likely to mean Looked After Child/ren to Social Workers, and Local Area Co-ordinator to Community Learning and Development staff)
  • Always explain any acronym used and do not assume people know what it means, e.g. GIRFEC (Getting it right for every child) or SHANARRI (Safe, Healthy, Achieving, Nurtured, Active, Respected, Responsible).

Wherever possible, use plain English. Short sentences are more accessible than long, multiple clause sentences. Simple words are preferable to complex words. Few words on a slide is better than lots of words on a slide.



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