The APPG on safeguarding in faith settings has welcomed a draft code of practice for out-of-school settings and guidance for parents that has been released for consultation by the government.
The draft code-of-practice was issued on 2nd December 2018 by the Department for Education along with accompanying guidance for parents setting out the key questions they may wish to consider when choosing an out-of-school setting for their child.
Out-of-school settings include but are not restricted to: Uniformed youth organisations such as the Scouts and Guides; Open access youth providers such as centre-based and detached youth work; and religious settings which offer education in their own faith, such as Sunday Schools and those of other faiths and religions.
The guidance advises parents to avoid settings where staff are not DBS checked, there is no child protection policy, or there are signs of abuse on other children who attend the setting, like unexplained bruises.
Other red flags include the provider being unable to name a designated safeguarding lead, or if that lead has not had relevant training. Settings allowing children access to the internet with no filtering systems in place should also be avoided, according to the guidance.
By signing up to the code, providers “will be making a commitment that they have implemented policies and practices to safeguard children using their services,” the government said.
Sarah Champion MP, Co-Chair of the APPG on safeguarding in faith settings, said: "We would echo the comments made by Lord Agnew, that the overwhelming majority of out-of-school settings offer strong provision in a safe environment which includes faith or religious settings. However, there remains concern, about the small minority of settings that may be putting children at risk of harm."
"We believe that the draft guidance, released today, is a positive step forward in helping out-of-school settings to know what good practice looks like and ensures parents and carers of children are properly equipped so they can make good and safer choices."
"As an All-Party Parliamentary Group seeking to increase awareness of issues relating to safeguarding within faith settings, it is our view that this consultation provides a good opportunity for the faith community to inform safeguarding discourse and to share best practise. We would encourage anyone involved in the safe provision of out-of-school settings to constructively engage with this consultation and consider making a response."
The consultation is open until 24 February 2019 and can be accessed here.