Calling all Parents, the summer holidays are coming! What are you going to do with your children?

Calling all Parents, the summer holidays are coming! What are you going to do with your children?

The summer holidays are nigh and for many parents this does present a challenge about “who’s going to look after my children whilst I am at work?”. This has been an age-old problem that many of us have wrestled with over the years, thankfully I do not have this problem now, but I know for lots of you this a worry.  In recent years we have seen a proliferation of new child care activities based around sport that take place during school holiday periods, lots taking place on school premises or at leisure venues and parks around the county. This can be an ideal solution to child care and in many instances these activities are far cheaper than paying child minders.

Do your research

A question that I would ask families out there is how much due diligence do you do on such companies before you send your most loved and treasured children into these summer holiday child care environments. The answer is probably very little! A view of their web site and the many testimonials that they show, claims of coaching badges, a glossy brochure sent through the post or a flyer in your child’s school bag. Some parents even just turn up, pay and then leave their children in the hands of people they have never met. Have we forgotten the messages from our school days about not talking to strangers, but we are quite happy to leave our children in their company?

Parents, please take a more proactive role in researching the summer sporting child care activities that you may be considering for your children. When parents research nurseries and schools for placements far more curious enquiries take place. 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.
  • Where is the sporting activity taking place? If it’s in the grounds of a school or a leisure centre ask the Head teacher or centre manager what due diligence has taken place to ensure that the club have the appropriate safegaurding procedures in place.
  • Reference will be made to staff members having coaching badges such as FA Badges or that they are fully qualified, 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.
  • DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) checks should be mentioned but you should be asking about the last time that they were renewed. Are the clubs part of the DBS update service? Does the club have volunteers? Do they have a full DBS disclosure?
  • What safeguarding training have the staff received? Can you see the evidence of when the training was delivered? Did all staff attend? What about new staff? We know coaches do move around quite frequently.
  • First aid; what happens if a child is injured or taken ill? What are the clubs policies on these issues? How many people at the club have full first aid certificates?

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, 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 sports activity clubs. If you have any concerns or would like to have a discussion with me about this article, then please do contact me on the numbers listed below

Kev Murphy

Response Unit; Safeguarding in Sport Lead

NWG Network

01332 585371 / 07399 449045