Safeguarding and Protecting Children

The following documents have been prepared in conjunction with:

  • Swim England Child Safeguarding Policies & Procedures (Wavepower 2016-19)
  • NSPCC (Child protection in sport unit)

These safeguarding procedures stem from the following principles:

The child’s welfare is the first consideration. Services should be based on an understanding of children’s needs and views.

All children and adults have the right to stay safe and be protected from abuse.

Swimming and aquatics is and should remain, accessible to all, regardless of age, gender, faith or religion, culture, ethnicity, sexual orientation, background, economic position, disability or level of ability.


STATEMENT OF PRINCIPLES

Waves Swimming School seeks to provide a safe, secure and positive environment in which children and adults can learn to swim and develop their full aquatic potential.

The Swimming School is committed to a value system within which children and adults are entitled to be treated with respect and understanding so that they may participate in any activity without fear of intimidation. Any behaviour which undermines this is unacceptable.

The Swimming School seeks to ensure that those acting on behalf of the Swimming School actively listen to children and act appropriately on information received in order to ensure that a safe, secure and positive outcome is provided.

All children have a right to feel secure: to be able to trust without fear, and to expect protection from adults in positions of care and responsibility. They also have a right to take part in activities in an environment that does not subject them to cruelty or create unhappiness.

Waves Swimming School will promote the positive aspects of sport and never condone the use of inappropriate or abusive language, inappropriate relationships, bullying, harassment, discrimination or physical violence.

The Swimming School will respect the spirit of sport adhering to the rules and laws in and out of the pool, incorporating the concept of friendship and respect for others.

All bullying is unacceptable. All victims of bullying will be treated in a supportive manner. Bullying may be defined as the intentional abuse by power of an individual or group with the intent and motivation to cause distress to another individual or group. It may be physical, sexual, verbal, racial, emotional, psychological, digital (on-line) or based on ‘difference’ in nature. It may occur frequently or infrequently, regularly or irregularly, but it will be taken seriously even if it has only occurred on one occasion.


GOOD PRACTICE

No adult will be left alone with individual children. If it is necessary to take a child aside to speak to them it will be done in full view of another member of Staff.

The lay-out of the swimming pools allows for constant supervision of all children. However, should it be deemed necessary to enter the changing rooms with an individual child, that member of Staff should seek support of another member of Staff, or a reliable adult.

Parents should not be in the changing room while children are changing unless their child is of an age where help is required from parents (usually 7 or 8 years and below) or if the child requires additional specific assistance.

Any person visiting the pools who is unknown to the Staff will be asked to identify themselves and which child they are accompanying. If this is not forthcoming or is unsatisfactory, they will then be asked to leave the premises.

Because of the nature of the sport of swimming, staff may be the first to see signs of physical abuse or neglect. They are aware of the importance of listening to, rather than questioning, a child. No child who is freely recalling information or events will be stopped until they finish of their own accord. Staff will avoid asking leading questions or ones which could be construed as putting ideas into the child’s head. Staff will never promise the child confidentiality but explain that it may be in their interest for information to be passed on to an appropriate adult.

A record of subsequent events will be kept, no matter how trivial they may seem at the time. Staff will not promise the child confidentiality in any matter but will explain to the child that it may be in their interest for this information to be passed on to other appropriate contacts.

Members of Staff should not transport children to and from lessons. Parents should stay with their children at the pool but if a child is left at a pool at the end of the session, the Teacher will stay with the child until they are collected. The Teacher will have a contact number for the parent. If the parent cannot be contacted and the emergency number has also been checked, the child should be asked if there is another family member who could be contacted. If no-one can be contacted, the local Police should be contacted to enquire about the best course of action.

Providing early help is more effective in promoting the welfare of children than reacting later.


PHOTOGRAPHY & RECORDING

As advised by the Child Protection in Sport Unit, photography and the recording of any kind of images is not allowed during swimming sessions.

Under no circumstances will photography be permitted in the changing facilities or toilet areas of the pools. Increasingly, young people are at risk of images being taken of them and shared, most often by peers. Children should be made aware that it is a criminal offence to take, make, distribute (send), upload and/or possess any indecent image of a child (including those taken/possessed by other under 18 year olds).

In accordance with Swim England guide-lines any images taken by the Swimming School for publicity purposes will be done with the written permission of the parent/guardian.

REPORTING

Any member of Staff who suspects that a child may have been the subject of abuse will inform the owner of the Swimming School immediately. All changes in a child’s behaviour or appearance will be recorded. All suspicions and investigations will be kept confidential.

Records will include the name, age and address of the child, the time and date of the report. Observations must be objective and without interpretation or comment. Whenever possible, the exact words spoken by the child will be recorded. The record must be signed and dated by the member of staff. The partners will approach the parent/guardian or Head Teacher if appropriate. The explanation given will determine whether the matter is referred to the Social Services for further help and advice.

If an allegation is made against a member of Waves Swimming School staff, they will meet with the partners as soon as possible. Details of the discussion will be recorded and dated. The Administrator will be informed within one day of the incident. If appropriate, action will follow in accordance with the Discipline & Grievance Proceduresl. If the allegation is against a partner, the incident should be reported to the Administrator. No member of Staff, apart from those appointed, should approach the parents/guardian of a child, Social Services or Head Teacher.

If a report is to be made to the authorities, the child’s parents/guardian will be informed at the same time as the report is made, unless a child makes a direct disclosure that they are being sexually abused. In this case, information would be passed to Social Services or the Police without informing the parents/guardian.

FAMILY SUPPORT

Where abuse at home is suspected Waves Swimming School will continue to welcome the child and family while investigations proceed. Confidential records will be shared with the family at the discretion of the Social Services with the proviso that the care and the safety of the child must always be of paramount importance. Waves Swimming School will do all in its power to support the child’s family and work with the Social Services department.

MISSING PERSONS

Waves Swimming School is only responsible for swimmers while they are in the water. The changing rooms are supervised by the parents and not the swimming school staff. Siblings are requested to stay with their parents during the lessons. The Swimming School is not responsible for any siblings not swimming.

Parents are expected to remain on poolside during their child’s lesson. Exceptional circumstances should be discussed with the owner of the swimming school.

If it was noticed that a child was no longer part of a class:

  • The parent and assistant would be consulted as to their whereabouts. If the child was believed to be missing:
  • The pool would be cleared and the water checked.
  • The registers would be retaken and the children grouped outside while the teachers checked the building.
  • The changing rooms/toilets would be checked by the teacher in charge.
  • The child’s clothes would be checked by the parent and if still there, the child would be presumed to be still in the pool area. If gone, then the parent’s car and surrounding area would be searched and the hiring school alerted.
  • The teachers should organise a search using responsible adults to cover all areas. All those searching should report back to the teacher in charge at a specific location and time.
  • The teach in charge should make a note of events, including a description of the missing child, what they were wearing and where they were last seen for the Police.
  • A report should go to the Police no later than 30 minutes after the young person’s disappearance is noted, even if the search is not complete.
  • During any procedure it is the teacher who is responsible for the children in the water.
  • The teacher takes the register to ensure that all swimmers are accounted for and are out of the building if the situation requires this action.
  • This policy follows the same procedure as for an emergency evacuation procedure.

E-SAFETY

All staff and customers should be aware of e-safety with regards to protecting children/young people within Waves Swimming School and the use of social networking or other on-line services.

Staff have mobile telephones on poolside for emergency use only.

Children attending lessons should be protected while they are within the care of the Swimming School. Children on the poolside should be supervised by their parent/carer. It is the School policy that mobile phones are not used on the poolside and any photography or recording of images is only carried out in accordance with the Swimming School’s Safeguarding policy. Parents of children playing with electronic devices on poolside must make their children aware that any recording or streaming of other people is not allowed.

No one is allowed to use mobile phones or recording equipment in the changing areas. Increasingly, young people are at risk of images being taken of them and shared, most often by peers. Children should be made aware that it is a criminal offence to take, make, distribute (send), upload and/or possess any indecent image of a child (including those taken/possessed by other under 18 year olds).

The Swimming School will operate in line with the ASA’s code of ethics and within the law regarding how the Swimming School uses information technology. Email addresses and mobile phone numbers of parents/carers are held with the permission of the adult to enable communication between the swim school and parents. Children will not be contacted directly.

Photographs and information appearing on the Swimming School website and Facebook page are used in accordance with the Safeguarding policy. The School website and Facebook page are managed by Waves Swimming School staff who have carried out Safeguarding training.

All staff should protect their privacy on-line and carefully consider to who they give access to their personal information on-line. There should be a clear differentiation between their personal and professional profiles.