Instructors - Good Practice for Linking with Schools
Help and advice from the Child Protection in Sport Unit
Here are some practical ways for your organisation to help safeguard the children and young people who take part in your activities:
All clubs that link with schools need to be able to evidence that they meet nationally agreed minimum operating standards that demonstrate a commitment to the welfare of children and young people.
Clubs that are recognised through achieving Clubmark accreditation (or the national governing body (NGB) equivalent) by their NGB will be prioritised for additional resources and support to enable them to implement the PE and Sport Strategy for Young People (PESSYP).
Schools and clubs need to be confident that any sporting activity provided by your club for children, independently or in partnership with schools, is of high quality and both safe and fun. Here are a few good practice pointers for clubs linking with schools:
- Ensure your club has adopted and promoted the child protection policy and procedures of the NGB for your sport.
- Ensure these are made available to all club members upon request and that all club members (coaches/staff/volunteers/parents/children) are aware of how they can get help if they have any concerns and who to contact.
- Seek Clubmark accreditation - contact your NGB for details.
- Appoint a club welfare officer who has been appropriately recruited and selected because of their suitability for the job and commitment to child welfare. Ensure that they have a clearly defined role and responsibilities and access to training to afford them the skills, knowledge and confidence to undertake this role.
- Find out about child protection and equity training opportunities through your NGB lead child protection officer and actively encourage staff, volunteers, coaches, officials and other club members to make sure they are updated regularly.
- Ensure that activities are well structured and varied to ensure that the needs of children of all abilities can participate - as an athlete, official, leader or volunteer. Ensure that you are aware of any additional support needs that any participating child might have and have a clear understanding with the school about how these needs can appropriately be addressed.
- Ensure that adults working with children are appropriately recruited and vetted to ensure their suitability to work with children and young people. This should be supported by supervision, induction and training as appropriate.
- Make every effort to ensure that coaches or other adults never work in isolation with a child or groups of children. At least two responsible adults must be present at all times when activities are being delivered.
- Ensure that there are practice guidelines in place for any trips or fixtures away from the club or school facility that involve transportation of children.
- Communicate regularly and openly with the school’s designated teacher/person, staff, parents and participants about the measures you are taking to ensure that safeguards are in place and make a difference for children. The Club Welfare Officer should take lead responsibility for this communication.
- Make sure that your club welfare officer and all those who are involved with linking with the school are aware of the schools child protection procedures and how to respond to a concern in accordance with local safeguarding children boards (LSCB) guidance.
- Ensure that codes of conduct and good practice guidelines are made available to all when they join the club and that these are actively promoted.
- Ensure there is a clear agreement about who holds lead responsibility for any activities (e.g. school staff or club coach) and a clear programme of activities over the period that the club will be linking with the school.
- If you need to communicate with a child or young person other than during the delivery of sessions, all communication must go via the school or Local Education Authority (LEA). Parental consent for each child to participate in activities should be sought and consent forms sent home with the children or young people via their school.