In the news: Government consultation on voluntary safeguarding code for out-of-school settings

In the news: Government consultation on voluntary safeguarding code for out-of-school settings

Schools and colleges are bound by statutory guidance such as Keeping children safe in education to ensure children are safeguarded from harm. However, out-of-school settings do not have to follow any specific code of conduct with regards to health & safety, safeguarding or preventing radicalisation or extremism.

The Department for Education is seeking views to help prepare a voluntary safeguarding code of practice for out-of-school settings (OOSS). They are also planning to produce guidance for parents which sets out key questions they may wish to consider when choosing an out-of-school setting for their child.

The consultation ends on 24th February 2019.

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What is an Out-of-School Setting (OOSS)?

OOSS generally provide tuition, training, instruction or activities outside of normal school hours (i.e. during the evenings, weekends, and/or school holidays), although some OOSS are run part-time during school hours to help meet the needs of those in home education.

This includes, but is not limited to:

What will the voluntary safeguarding code of practice cover?

The code already exists in draft form and can be viewed on the government website. It is designed to help providers understand how they can run safe OOSS in ways which promote the welfare and help ensure the safety of the children attending them.

It is set out in two parts.

Part 1 outlines as a minimum three broad areas in which the Department for Educaiton recommends that all OOSS providers adopt policies for. These are:

  • Health and safety;
  • Child welfare (this includes online and digital safety); and
  • Suitability of staff and volunteers.

Part 2 outlines those areas which they recommend OOSS give additional consideration to when developing their practices and policies. These are:

  • Governance; and
  • Finance.

Each section contains questions that parents and carers might ask OOSS providers in order to satisfy themselves that their child will be safe in their care, as well as examples of good answers that the providers should be able to give.

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