Guidance for parents, carers & guardians

Sport and physical activity helps children, young people and vulnerable adults to grow, develop, be healthy and can provide opportunities for enjoyment and achievement. Through being active they can develop valuable qualities such as leadership, confidence, resilience and self-esteem.

Every child and young person has the right to have fun, be safe and be free from harm when participating. This includes when training for a local team, playing for a local club or representing a sport at county, national or international level.

It is essential that parents, guardians and carers have a general awareness of good practice when selecting a sport or physical activity for a child, young person, or vulnerable adult to attend. This will ensure that they can enjoy the activity within a safe and secure environment where they feel protected and empowered to make the most suitable choices. Providing them with positive  experiences means that they will be more likely to achieve their true potential.

PARENTS, GUARDIANS AND CARERS - WHAT SHOULD YOU BE LOOKING FOR?

1. Are the coaches, leaders or instructors qualified?

All coaches, leaders or instructors must hold an up to date nationally recognised governing body coaching qualification which is appropriate to the level of sport or physical activity being coached, lead or instructed.

In general an assistant coach must hold a Level 1 qualification and should coach under the supervision of a more experienced and qualified coach, leader or instructor. A minimum of a Level 2 qualification is normally required for a coach to be coaching on their own however for some sports a Level 3 qualification may be required.

2. Does the coach, leader or instructor have appropriate safeguarding awareness training?

It is recommended that coaches, leaders and instructors have attended nationally recognised safeguarding and protecting children awareness training. The training should be recognised by the appropriate National Governing Body, UK Coaching or Local Safeguarding Children’s Board. If working in schools it is recommended that they have attended Adults Other Than Teachers (AOTTs) training. training.

3. Are coaches and club personnel suitable to work with children, young people and vulnerable adults?

All coaches, leaders and instructors and personnel who have direct contact with children, young people and vulnerable adults should have been appropriately screened. This should include:

  • the successful completion of an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check if appropriate
  • appropriate references being taken up

4. Are the coaches insured?

Coaches, leaders and instructors should have up-to-date and appropriate insurance cover for the activity they are delivering.

5. What is the player/coach ratio?

The ratio of coaches, leaders or instructors to participants varies from sport to sport and should be based on:

  • the age and ability of the participants
  • the risk involved in the activity
  • needs of disabled young people in the group

Contact the sports National Governing Body for specific guidance on the ratio of participant to coach, leader or instructor.

6. Who do I tell if a participant takes medication?

Organisations, coaches, leaders and instructors need to be aware of any medication that a participant taking, or if they have any other particular health needs. You should be asked when you first attend an activity, but if not inform the coach, leader or instructor so they are aware.

7. What happens if my child is involved in away fixtures?

The organisation will take responsibility for ensuring the safety of your child, young person or vulnerable adult whilst in their care and should inform you about the event arrangements. You should know how they’re getting to and from the event. Prior to the fixture you should be provided with a parental consent form. You will need to complete this form and return it clearly stating emergency contact numbers and medical information.

POLICIES, PROCEDURES AND PRACTICE - WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR

National Governing Body Accreditation

The organisation or club should have, or be working towards National Governing Body Accreditation, or equivalent, that outlines minimum operating systems of the sport. National Governing Body Accreditation ensures that the organisation is committed to providing a safe, effective and child friendly environment. The organisation or club should be working towards minimum operating standards outlined by their National Governing Body.

Child Protection Policy

The organisation or club should have a child protection policy which outlines procedures for dealing with possible abuse, disclosures or poor practice. The organisation has a legal responsibility to act on any instances of abuse, disclosure or poor practice. Parents, carers and guardians should be aware of the policy and be able to view it on request.

Insurance

The organisation or club should have public liability insurance.

Codes of Conduct

The organisation or club should have a written code of conduct – outlining minimum levels of expected behaviour – for:

  • participants
  • parents, carers and guardians.
  • coaches, leaders, instructors, staff and volunteers.

Health and Safety

  • The premises/venue should satisfy fire regulations.
  • The organisation should have mechanisms in place to ensure the safety of the venue and equipment.
  • The organisation should issue a consent form for all new members requesting details of emergency contacts, medical history and consent for your child to be photographed or videoed.

The venue and organisation should always have:

  • somebody on site who holds a first aid qualification, access to a first aid box and telephone
  • guidelines for dealing with injuries including protocols for notifying emergency contacts and arrangements for medical assistance

YOUR ROLES AS PARENTS, GUARDIANS AND CARERS

Always ensure that the people you are responsible for have:

  • the correct kit/equipment
  • a suitable drink when required
  • sun cream if needed
  • medication if required
  • if in doubt contact the club/organisation about requirements

Always ensure that you:

  • ask the appropriate questions to ensure that activities are safe and child/vulnerable adult-friendly
  • are aware of and act in accordance with the organisations code of conduct for parents, guardians or carers
  • inform the coach, leader or instructor of medical conditions/medication taken (remember to keep the coach, leader or instructor up to date)
  • inform the coach, leader or instructor of any disabilities or special requirements that your child has
  • ensure that the organisation has emergency contact details
  • drop off, and pick up your child at the correct times, as advised by the organisation
  • talk to your child about the activity to ensure that they are enjoying it
  • are aware of how and when to report a concern, allegation or disclosure about poor practice or possible abuse

Always ensure that the young people you are responsible for know and understand:

  • the organisations fair play charter and/or code of conduct for participants
  • who they can talk to if they have any concerns

WHAT TO DO IF YOU HAVE ANY CONCERNS?

Clubs/organisations should have a designated child protection/welfare officer. They are the first point of contact if you have any concerns. If you would like more information, or have any concerns on any of the topics covered please contact the club/organisations child protection/welfare officer or contact the sports National Governing Body Child Protection Officer. For any other further information please use the contacts below.

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