Keeping children safe is a parent’s first concern. It is your right and responsibility as a parent to check how well a club or activity is run, for the sake of your child’s safety and your peace of mind. Remember, a well run club or activity will welcome questions from parents.
Under each of the following headings are things for you to consider when finding clubs and activities for your child:
Staff and volunteers
Make sure you know who the staff are and what their roles and responsibilities are. Are there enough staff to appropriately supervise the activity? Who is in charge? Have they been trained in child protection and safeguarding? Have they all had Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks? Do they have the right qualifications?
Health and safety and insurance
Make sure that someone in charge is competent in health and safety and qualified in first aid. Find out how the leaders deal with and record accidents and if your child has had an accident, how do they let you know. The venue should display their public liability insurance certificate. Do they have regular fire drills and a risk assessment? Are the fire escapes easily marked and kept clear?
Security of the building
Children and young people should not be able to get out unsupervised and everyone should be asked to sign in and out. Speak to staff if you have concerns about the security of the building. Find out how they make sure only people you have approved can collect your child at the end of a session.
All clubs and activities should have a number of policies including child protection/safeguarding. There should also be a process for how to handle concerns about a child. Other policies and documents include anti-bullying and equal opportunities. You should be able to have a copy of these policies if you ask for them.
Information for your child
You should be asked to complete a consent form including your child’s personal details and any dietary, medical or special needs. This will help them to make sure your child gets the most from the activities. Make sure you provide emergency contact details and update them if they change. The consent form may also ask for permission for children to be on photographs or videos. Extra consent forms should be used for special events such as trips or residential visits.
Food and drink
If the club provides refreshments as part of the activity are these healthy and what is included? Does your child have any food allergies that they need to be aware of? Is there a leader with a qualification in food hygiene?
The club or activity should have clear guidelines about physical contact and social activities between staff, volunteers, children and parents.
Follow this guidance and your child should have a great time and stay safe. If you do have any questions, call FISH on (01482) 396469.
Please note: inclusion of services and sessions is not an endorsement or recommendation.
For more information about childcare and other local and national services for families of young people you can view the Family service directory.