Keeping children safe in Out of School Settings

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What is an Out of School Setting?

An Out of School Setting provides tuition, training, instruction, or activities to children in England, outside of school, without supervision from their parents or carers. These sessions are usually available during evenings, weekends and school holidays, although some are part-time during school hours to meet the needs of those who are being educated at home.

These can include:

  • Tuition centres and supplementary schools
  • Extracurricular activities, e.g. ballet or music classes, drama or sports
  • Uniformed youth organisations, e.g. Scouts, Guides and Cadets
  • Open access youth provision, e.g. centre-based and detached youth work
  • Private language schools
  • Religious settings which offer education in their own faith

Out of School Settings does not include schools or colleges registered by the Department for Education and are not required to be registered by any statutory organisation. There are no regulations governing many out of school activities, unless it is an Ofsted registered childcare provision, in which case it must adhere to the statutory requirements of its Ofsted registration.  

What does an Out of School Setting do?

Out of School Settings are great ways for children to have fun, play, learn new skills, make new friendships and gain useful life skills. They involve a variety of activities that encourage children and young people’s interests and improve their physical, social and emotional wellbeing. They can include sport, art, learning a musical instrument or language and religious instruction. 

Out of School settings have an overriding responsibility to safeguard all children and young people using them.

Considerations for parents and carers

Most Out of School Setting providers will expect parents and carers to ask them questions.

It is always worth a visit to observe how staff and volunteers interact with the children and young people in their charge, as this will help you decide if the Out-of-School Setting is suitable for your child(ren) and if you feel the activities are safe and well-managed.

It might also be helpful to speak to parents and carers already using the facility. It is important that your child/ren know that they should talk to you if anything happens that makes them scared, worried or uncomfortable when using an Out-of-School Setting.

Waltham Forest council is not required to have information about Out of School Settings in the borough, either known or unknown. It is important that parents and carers understand that the council is not connected or attached to any Out-of-School setting, except for Ofsted-registered providers.

Tuition centres and/or private tutors are increasingly being used to provide additional learning support in a variety of subjects, like Maths, English and languages. Tutors do not have to be a qualified teacher nor do they have to have a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check. They are not required to be registered or approved by any statutory organisation, this is why it is very important that you speak to your child/ren about the activity they are doing and that you are able to observe them without restriction if necessary.

Here are some questions to consider asking an Out of School Setting:

  • Do all the staff and volunteers have a valid Disclosure Barring Service check (DBS)?
  • Who has overall responsibility for safeguarding and is there a copy of the organisation’s safeguarding policy?
  • Are the premises safe, for example are fire notices displayed?
  • Who is responsible for first aid?
  • Is there a parental consent and emergency contact form to complete?
  • Are the necessary building insurances in place, in date and available on request?

Responsibilities for providers of Out of School Settings 

It is the responsibility of all providers of Out of School Settings to safeguard children and young people.  Good governance is important to ensure there are clear processes.  Some Out-of-School Settings will be registered with the Charities Commission whilst others may have a management committee that supports the running of their setting.

Read the draft consultation to DfE 

The Children’s Act 2004 places a duty on organisations to safeguard and promote the wellbeing of children, as well as ensuring that all adults who work with children and young people are safe to do so.  As Out of Schools Settings includes a wide range of activities and ages the arrangements for keeping children and young people safe will vary. As a minimum standard Out of School Settings should have:

  • A safeguarding policy (including online and digital safety)
  • Health and safety procedures including insurances and fire safety
  • DBS checks for staff and volunteers
  • General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliance
  • A complaints procedure

If you feel that a child or young person is at immediate risk of harm please call the police on 999 who can provide an immediate response. Alternatively, you can contact your local police on 101 at any time.

If you don’t believe the risk requires immediate action, contact the Waltham Forest Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) team to discuss your concerns:

Useful links