Welfare and safeguarding FAQs for swim schools26 April 2022
Click or tap on the questions below to find out more about welfare and safeguarding within swim schools.
This definition for Safeguarding Children is taken from the Government Document “Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018” and is “The action taken to promote the welfare of children and protect them from harm”
The actions are defined as:
- Protect a child from maltreatment.
- Prevention of impairment to a child’s physical, mental health and development.
- Ensuring children grow up in circumstances consistent with provision of safe and effective care.
- Taking action to enable all children to have the best outcomes.
Child Protection is part of the safeguarding process it focusses on protecting children who are identified as suffering or likely to suffer significant harm.
When the needs of children are not given the necessary priority compromising their welfare or wellbeing. Poor practice can easily turn into abuse if it is not dealt with as soon as concerns are raised. Organisations which allow poor practice to go unchallenged will soon find their culture is one that allows poor and abusive practice to exist with “it becoming the norm”.
Examples of poor practice could include code of conduct issues, not using recognised teaching practices, ignoring health or safety or having no process for dealing with concerns or complaints. (List is not exhaustive).
The Children Act 1989 and 2004 and the Government Document “Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018” are clear that safeguarding children is the responsibility of everyone. These documents detail your responsibility and you should read them carefully, ensuring you fully understand your duty and responsibilities to safeguard children in your care.
Yes. As a minimum the policy should:
- Be made available to all your staff, parents and carers of children who attend your school.
- Contact details for your Designated Safeguarding Lead and other agencies including emergency reporting.
- Reflect local child safeguarding arrangements.
- Outline how someone can make a referral.
- Outline how allegations will be dealt with and recorded.
Your organisation should designate an adult (which could be you) to have lead responsibility for safeguarding children in your care. That person will act as a source of support, advice and expertise on matters of child safeguarding. That person should:
- Be suitably trained.
- Have a good understanding of safeguarding and child protection.
- Understand what abuse and neglect might look like.
- Understand the Local Authority referral process and who to contact.
- Be ready to act when a child safeguarding concern is reported, so appropriate referral processes are followed in order to safeguard the child.
Your organisation should take steps to recruit or upskill a current staff member into that role.Find a Safeguarding CPD course near you: https://www.swimming.org/ios/course-information/swim-england-safeguarding/.
Every local authority in England is covered by a Safeguarding Partnership. A safeguarding partner in relation to a local authority area in England is defined under the Children Act 2004 (as amended by the Children and Social Work Act, 2017) as:
- The local authority.
- A clinical commissioning group for an area, any part of which falls within the local authority area.
- The chief officer of police for an area, any part of which falls within the local authority area.
The three safeguarding partners agree on ways to co-ordinate their safeguarding services; act as a strategic leadership group in supporting and engaging others; and implement local and national learning including serious child safeguarding incidents.
It is important you find out what the partnership arrangements look like in your area. These will be found on your local authority’s website. You should make yourself familiar with the referral routes in your area and who to contact. If the website is not clear – ring them up and find out.
Every local authority appoints a Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) sometimes known as a Designated Officer. The LADO manages allegations made against individuals who work with children whether that role is employed, self-employed, casual or voluntary.
The LADO must be alerted within 1 working day where it is alleged that a person who works with children has:
- Behaved in a way that has harmed a child, or has harmed a child.
- Possibly committed a criminal offence against or related to a child.
- Behaved towards a child or children in a way that indicates they may pose a risk of harm to children.
- Behaved in a way that indicates they may not be suitable to work with children.
If you believe a child has been harmed or may be at immediate risk of harm and you are unable to contact your Designated Safeguarding Lead, or you are the Designated Safeguarding Lead for your Swim School then immediate contact should be made with; the Police, Children’s Social Care, Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH), NSPCC Child Protection Helpline or other agencies as appropriate. Take the name and contact details of the person you have spoken to and the incident /referral reference number (if appropriate), so you have a record for your Swim School. Parents and carers of the child should be advised of the actions you have taken only if they are not implicated/involved in the concern.
Yes. There is a template at the front of Wavepower you can adapt, we suggest it contains the name and contact details of:
- Swim School Designated Safeguarding Lead.
- Swim England Learn to Swim Team.
- Swim England Safeguarding Team.
- Children’s Social Care.
- Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH).
- NSPCC Child Protection Helpline.
- Any other local authority safeguarding teams or agencies applicable to your area or contacts that are useful to your Swim School.
Ensure all swim school staff are aware of this list and have been provided with a copy, as well as knowing what to do in an emergency situation.
Training should outline the core principles of safeguarding good practice, responding to concerns and provide an understanding of child protection legislation and responsibilities. It should:
- Ensure awareness of the categories of abuse and the potential signs and symptoms of abuse.
- Explain what to do if you have concerns for a child.
- Explore the legislative context and statutory framework for safeguarding.
- Develop skills around identifying, responding to and reporting concerns.
- Signpost to further advice and support.
Wavepower, which is the Swim England Safeguarding Policy and Procedure has templates that Swim Schools can access.
Everyone should also signpost the NSPCC for resources and templates, which are available for Swim Schools to use.
It is vital for any organisation to have the option for those involved to express their concerns about any incident or misconduct. This may prevent risk of harm to children under their responsibility. An example of a Whistle Blowing Policy can be found in Wavepower and the NSPCC.
Consult with your Local Authority to see what is available in your area.Remember you can use the resources available through the NSPCC and Wavepower which will guide you regarding best safeguarding policies to have in place; a trained Designated Safeguarding Lead having the responsibilities for such.
Advice and guidance on child safeguarding matters for your Swim School should be raised to your Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL).
If they are unable to respond or are unsure how to respond and the matter is not an emergency situation they should contact the Swim England Learn to Swim Team at email@example.com to seek further guidance. In an emergency situation where you believe a child has been harmed or may be at immediate risk of harm contact should be made immediately with either police, Children’s Social Care, Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH), NSPCC Child Protection Helpline or other agencies as appropriate.
Take the name and contact details of the person you have spoken to and the incident/referral reference number (if applicable) so you have a record and report this to your DSL as soon as possible.
If you have concerns in relation to behaviour towards children of someone who holds a position of trust in your organisation you should contact your DSL to make a referral to your Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) within one working day. If the concerns are in relation to your DSL refer the matter directly to the LADO. The LADO will advise the Swim School on actions to be taken.
Depending on the nature of the incident, it is always vital to take any steps to ensure all children are protected from immediate harm.
If the incident is related to child safeguarding, refer to your Designated Safeguarding Lead for advice, as well as, the Local Authority Designated Officer or Swim England. The information shared will be on a ‘need to know’ basis.
The Swim School’s Designated Safeguarding Lead should have a secure method of retaining records of child safeguarding concerns. If they are needed to be produced at a later date, they should be made accessible to those who require it.The NSPCC provide advice and guidance on records here: https://learning.nspcc.org.uk/research-resources/briefings/child-protection-records-retention-storage-guidance/
Safeguarding concerns can be wide ranging. Swim Schools can use Wavepower as a guide and use resources from your Local Authority and the NSPCC.Wavepower can be accessed here: https://www.swimming.org/swimengland/wavepower-child-safeguarding-for-clubs/
Yes, Swim England have a running pools section on the website which includes the Safe Supervision guidance.https://www.swimming.org/swimengland/worker-health-and-safety/
Yes, please refer to the Swim England website using the useful links section below. Also, the Swim England Learn to Swim Team produced an article on the Best Practices teachers should use when Teaching in the water. This can be accessed here: https://www.swimming.org/swimengland/best-practice-within-swimming-lessons/
The Ann Craft Trust (ACT) is a national charity which exists to minimise the risk of abuse of disabled children and adults at risk. Through pioneering training, practice reviews and contributing to world-leading research, they support organisations to safeguard disabled children and adults at risk and minimise the risk of harm.
Ann Craft Trust
Swim England Teaching Resources
Swim England are not in a position to offer advice or guidance on GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation).
If you are concerned, you can contact the Information Commissioner Office (ICO) here: https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/
The ICO has a helpline that you can call. Alternatively, if you have legal cover within your insurance policy you could contact them for advice.
Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018
The Children Act 1989, Children Act 2004 and other legislation
Wavepower the Swim England Child Safeguarding Policy and Procedures
A welfare officer is needed in every swim school. They are the contact between the national governing body and the swim school, as well as being the designated person all members/participants of the swim school would go to with any safeguarding/best practice concerns. In the situation where the welfare officer may be the individual needing to be reported, the individual reported must contact their local authority designated officer (LADO) as well as making the national governing body aware.