It’s the Summer Holiday Time Again.
Well then, it has been a very peculiar 18 months or so and children who have been in school, out of school, back in school and now will be out of school again but this time it will be due to the impending summer holidays and not Covid 19 track and trace notifications.
With this in mind we once again write to you all as parents whose children may well be attending summer holiday activities during the school beak to ensure that you do your due diligence on the club or provider who is delivering activities that your children will be attending. Sadly so many times we seem to have forgotten the messages from our school days about not talking to strangers, but we are quite happy to leave our children in the company of strangers you may have never met before? Is the sport or activity where you’re sending your children “Safe to Play” and are you confident that they will be looked after properly!
So, this is a “call to arms” for all parents, please take a more proactive role in researching the summer sport and play activities that you may be considering for your children. When parents research nurseries and schools for placements far more curious enquiry takes place to ensure that their children attend the best provision, however can you honestly say you take the same approach when you look for activities for your child to attend over the summer ?
So, with this in mind here are some things to think about:
- Firstly, scrutinise their web sites or the information that you have been sent, do not be influenced by “glossy “pictures and reams of quotes from “satisfied” parents. Look for safeguarding policies, are they fully accessible and visible or are they just “referred” to on the web site, if this is the case ask yourself a question as to why they are not visible, and would you really send your child there not knowing what their safeguarding arrangements are?
- Where is the activity taking place, is it’s in the grounds of a school or a leisure centre ask the Head Teacher or centre manager about what due diligence they have taken to ensure that the clubs providing activities have the appropriate safeguarding procedures in place.
- In some brochures, leaflets and websites reference will be made to staff members having coaching badges such as FiFA or FA Badges or that they are fully qualified to national standards, a good web site will show you pictures of the staff alongside their qualifications and what their coaching badges are in and who issued them, check these out.
- DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) checks will be mentioned but you should be asking about the last time that they were renewed, are the club or activity provider part of the DBS update service. Does the club have volunteers, and do they have a full DBS disclosure?
- What safeguarding training has the staff received and can you see the evidence of when the training was delivered, did all staff attend, what about new staff as we know coaches and volunteers do move around quite frequently.
- First aid, what happens if a child is injured or taken ill, what are the club’/providers policies on these issues and how many staff at the club have full first aid certificates and do the first aid staff know where the local heart defibrillators are placed, remember Christian Erikson who had a cardiac arrest whilst playing football at the recent Euros football tournament! First aid is something that is often missed by some parents.
These are just a few points that you need to consider, however your first point of call should be to ask direct questions of the staff running these clubs and activities, please do not be afraid to ask challenging questions, a good club will welcome such questioning and provide you with the answers that you require. If a coach or club owner are defensive about safeguarding questions ask yourself why, we have seen so many media stories recently about children being abused by coaches that I would expect to see more transparency from within the industry regarding the safeguarding of children. Safeguarding children is everyone’s business and it starts with parents so please do your homework with summer sport and activity clubs.
For more information about the questions parents should be asking before they let their most cherished loved ones attend summer holiday activities go to our webs site via the link below and let’s ensure your child’s activity is Safe to Play
As always we are happy to talk to anyone with regard to the content of this article so please do contact me on the details below, and by the way, please ensure you also get some time to yourself, self-care has, at times, been difficult during the pandemic due to the ongoing nature of our work and the increase in our workloads,
Take care now Kev
Kevin Murphy – Safeguarding in Sport Team