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Information and tips on how to choose a safe club or activity for your child outside of school

New safeguarding guidance came out in November 2020 to help keep children safe when they do activities outside of school.

To help parents and carers choose a safe setting for their child, we have put together some questions to ask providers, as well as positive signs to look out for when visiting a setting.

This guide contains:

  • Questions you may wish to ask a provider to ensure that they are providing a safe environment for your child
  • Red flags to look out for when you visit a setting
  • Checklists of positive signs that suggest a safer setting

What is an out-of-school setting (OOSS)?

An out-of-school setting can mean many things, from places like community and youth centres, sports clubs, and places of worship to individuals offering tuition in their own home or providing coaching at a playing field or local park.

Whilst most OOSS are safe spaces which provide fun, educational activities and classes for children of all ages, there is no single responsible body with complete oversight of these settings, or the quality and safety of their provision.

As a parent or carer, you will want to be reassured that your child is safe while they are not in your care.

To help keep your children safe during community activities, after-school clubs and tuition, the Government has released guidance to help.

Download ‘Keeping Children Safe during Community Activities, After-School Clubs and Tuition: Questions to help parents and carers choose out-of-school settings’ guidance

This new government guidance can help you choose a safe out‑of-school-setting for your child. The guidance for parents and carers sits alongside a code of practice for providers, which lays out the minimum level of safeguarding practice providers should have in place to reduce the risk of harm to children in clubs, tuition or community-led activities.

You should also read the guidance for parents and carers of children attending out-of-school settings during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak).

What does a safe setting look like?

As a parent or carer, there are some questions you can ask and positive signs or red flags you can look out for to decide whether a particular setting is a safe environment for your child.

Providers should welcome your questions about safeguarding and be able to reassure you that your child will be safe in their care. If they cannot then you may want to consider sending your child to a different provider.

Whether your child has extra tuition, does sports at a club or goes to language school, there are questions you can ask the provider or organiser to check that your child will be safe.

Questions to ask a provider

Who is the lead person responsible for:

  • safeguarding children
  • first aid?
  • What training have they had?

My child needs help with:

  • using the toilet
  • changing
  • feeding
  • their medication

How will you handle these personal-care needs?

My child has special educational needs or disability. How will you manage this?

Is my child allowed unsupervised access to the internet? How will you manage their access and monitor or filter the content?

Positive signs to look out for

It is important that you choose a setting for your child that has good safeguarding practises in place.

There are many positive signs you can look out for:

Policies and procedures on

  • Child protection
  • Health & safety
  • Internet safety
  • Complaints

should be available on request.

  1. Staff in contact with your child should be regularly trained and have the relevant qualifications and checks.
  2. The organiser asks you to provide parental consent and emergency contact details.
  3. The environment appears safe and the organiser knows what to do if there’s a fire or emergency.

Our safeguarding team continue to work with providers to make sure their training is up-to-date and in line with the latest guidance.

You can find the full ‘Keeping Children Safe during Community Activities, After‑School Clubs and Tuition’ code of practice and parental guidance at gov.uk

Providers

If you are an OOSS provider, the Portsmouth Safeguarding Children Partnership (PSCP) is providing FREE training which gives an overview of this new guidance entitled Keeping Children Safe during Community Activities, After-School Clubs and Tuition. Learn more and register here. Read the full, up-to-date guidance on gov.uk