Thirtyone:eight 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.
Justin Humphreys, Chief Executive at thirtyone:eight, said: "As an independent charity we’ve been supporting faith organisations with safeguarding for over 40 years, so we know the challenges that providers of what is called out-of-school settings face when it comes to implementing safer practices. We welcome this draft voluntary code of practice, including its focus on faith based organisations, as a hugely positive step forward in equipping them to create safer places for all.”
“We believe it clearly lays-out a best practice framework which is fully in line with what we would expect and advise organisations working with children and young people to be working towards.
"We are encouraged by the support the guidance also gives to parents and carers so that they can ask the right questions which enable them to make informed choices about whether to enrol their children in a particular setting."
Thirtyone:eight is currently drafting a response to the consultation which we hope to make available to our members soon, and we'd encourage all those involved in provision of this kind to consider engaging constructively in the consultation.
The consultation is open until 24 February 2019 and can be accessed here.