Safeguarding Concerns in Some Out of School Clubs

The back of 3 young children in school uniform walking in a row holding hands

Safeguarding Concerns in Some Out of School Clubs

The BBC has reported that over the past five years, 80 referrals have been made regarding clubs in school grounds. In context, this takes place amongst the UK’s circa 10,000 Out of School clubs, suggesting an incidence in around 0.2% of providers per year. Of course, any safeguarding incident, especially those where abuse is alleged, is one too many, and while they are clearly very rare in the context of very popular and highly utilised provision, the report nonetheless underscores the importance of ensuring high quality care.

The report does not detail whether the clubs in question were run directly by the schools or private providers, although in one particularly serious incident, it appears clear that the provision was by teachers from the school. This underscores something the sector has long appreciated, that running an Out of School club is a different undertaking to classroom teaching and may well require different skill sets. Where children’s safety is concerned, schools should not try to cut corners by extending the responsibilities of their already overstretched staff, and instead bring in professionals.

The Out of School sector is often left out of childcare policy discussions, despite wrap around care being more popular than ever. It is often the last to receive guidance on implementing new changes and it can be a real challenge for providers to keep up with their responsibilities. Of course, the vast majority of clubs are fantastic environments, loved by children and deeply valued by parents. While it can hurt to come under negative scrutiny in the media, in the long run, additional attention from policymakers may help to bolster this vital sector.

All Morton Michel policyholders have access to Free safeguarding training from flick Learning. Click here to find out more.

The BBC’s report can be found here. Warning: contains descriptions of abuse.