Faith Associates’ view on the Department for Education’s Out-of-school settings voluntary safeguarding code of practice

Sharing is caring!

The Department for Education (DfE) recently held a consultation on the implementation of a voluntary safeguarding code of practice for out-of-school settings following their findings of settings that clearly “lack sufficient safeguards”.

An out-of-school settings provides children with enriching activities such as language, sport and religious; this includes home education environments, religious settings, youth centres, youth organisations and more!  In such settings, there is currently a loophole in the application of regulatory framework as they are currently not regulated by education and childcare legislation. This means that they are not subject to the same safeguarding requirements as registered schools or childcare settings.

Our view

We, at Faith Associates welcome the DfE’s safeguarding code of practice and additional parental guidance. We strongly believe that there should be defined safeguarding protocols for out-of-school settings in the same manner as registered schools. Through our extensive experience in working with out-of-school settings all over the UK, we have identified a lack of awareness and implementation of safeguarding protocols. Whilst the nature of our work is to ultimately help such settings implement clear safeguarding protocols along with the provision of accredited safeguarding training, we can affirm that clear regulations for safeguarding will help clarify concerns linked to children’s health, safety and wellbeing.

Following our review of the DfE’s code and parental guidance, we acknowledge our support in their respective development and dissemination. The code is primarily designed to help out-of-school-education providers understand how to run their facilities in a manner that promotes the welfare and safety of the children attending them.  Our opinion on the parental guidance is that is clear and straightforward. The guidance raises pivotal questions parents should consider before sending their child(ren) to out-of-school settings.

The DfE’s code is set out into two parts:

Part 1 (outlines three broad areas that providers should adopt policies for)

  • Health and Safety
  • Child welfare (including online and digital safety)
  • Suitability of staff and volunteers

Part 2 (outlines areas additional consideration should be given to when developing practices and policies)

  • Governance; and
  • Finance

The DfE has clearly outlined how each area outlined above can be developed by out-of-school education providers. Not only have the DfE raised problematic areas in each area for example lack of internet filters and monitoring for child welfare, but they have also linked this to the appropriate legislation. Simultaneously, the DfE’s parental guidance outlines questions parents should ask an out-of-school education provider prior to enrolling their child(ren) in them.

Link to DfE’s code and parental guidance: https://consult.education.gov.uk/regulatory-framework-unit/out-of-school-settings-voluntary-safeguarding-code/

We have created a Madrassah and Mosque Accreditation scheme. This scheme has three major components, from audit of current status of governance and safeguarding practice; the second being critical evaluations, reporting and development (plugging gaps and training) and thirdly, revaluation to make sure the madrassah or mosque is compliant. The Madrassah Quality framework will inculcate many if not all the recommendations suggested by the DfE.

For further information on the Madrassah Quality framework see: http://www.madrassah.co.uk/standards/

For further information on the Mosque Accreditation Scheme see: http://www.beaconmosque.com/standards/

 

 

Share


Leave a Reply