Duty Of Care
Our focus on safety extends beyond swimming
Staff work for us because they care about children. Our policies and training direct and support staff so they can contribute to keeping children safe out of the water too. Below are just some of the key ones.
This is one of the many policies that represents our corporate values and commitment to your child’s safety. It’s an important component of our staff induction and ongoing training programs.
It not only sets out the standards our staff must abide by, but also outlines the behaviours our staff will teach, encourage and expect of your child. Such as co-operating, playing by the rules and listening attentively to instructions, which are so important for your child’s safety.
It outlines our staff’s duty of care, including knowing who you’ve advised has parental responsibility for your child when they are on our premises and recording any emergency contacts in our system you’ve provided. Respect for others and no bullying, harassment or intimidation of any child whilst on our premises, by anyone, are just some of the standards we value very highly.
It’s a valuable document that helps staff identify acceptable and unacceptable behaviours, including guidance on how to maintain appropriate physical, verbal and personal boundaries between students and teachers. Your child’s safety also includes their psychological wellbeing, so our Code of Conduct includes rules such as communicating with children in an age-appropriate manner and using positive feedback and encouragement on performance.
It’s important our staff are positive role models for our students and our Code of Conduct is one tool that helps our staff achieve that.
Our Child Protection & Mandatory Reporting Policy guides our staff on what to do should they have reasonable grounds that a child needs protection. It covers a range of safety, welfare and wellbeing situations. Including physical and psychological neglect; the failure or refusal to arrange necessary medical care; physical, sexual or emotional abuse, and domestic violence where the child may be at risk of serious physical or emotional abuse.
Our Policy supports staff in assessing what are reasonable grounds for concerns and outlines various procedures depending on the situation. Unless it’s an emergency, only the highest level of management will decide if, and how to proceed, and will then oversee any reporting.
We assure you that a decision to make a report is only done so after following relevant government guidelines and/or seeking expert advice from listed helplines. As an outsider to the family of course we won’t have all the facts, or the full story, but we trust you will understand that if we do act it’s because we have a genuine concern and because we strongly care about the safety of children.
We appreciate that students and parents might want to record memorable moments, to share with those who couldn’t be there – which might even be you. But it’s more important we protect children. A photo of a child innocently posted by their parent on social media, could put another child at risk. A child identified in the background, whose location was unknown to one or both parents, because of child safety issues. There are other potential risks and dangers, so that’s why we’ve adopted a “No Unauthorised Photos or Filming” rule.
We do want to achieve a balance. Occasionally we may allow families to take photographs or videos of ONLY their child, but only in appropriate circumstances and only with permission. For example, a photo against an achievement board, or when they can be photographed or filmed without other children in the background that can be identified.
Please appreciate and respect that staff have the right to refuse. There may be valid reasons for this, for example, staff may have time to supervise and check the photo.
Under no circumstances will parents ever be granted permission for filming or photography in changing rooms, toilets, showers or other sensitive areas.
Where some sites are leased, the landlord (for example an educational school) may have a blanket no photography or filming policy. In those circumstances our lease agreement may not permit us to overrule that policy. Thank you for respecting that.
For staff or student training, we sometimes organise photography and/or filming. For example, coaches find it helpful to film students to show them where stroke correction is needed. We’ll always seek permission and ensure the identities of any nearby students are protected.
For filming and/or photography for marketing purposes, we’ll advise that such activities are taking place and written permission to use images of any child will be obtained form the appropriate parent/carer prior to any usage.
Closed-circuit television surveillance (CCTV) is currently used at most of our facilities, or may be installed in the future. We use CCTV to ensure the safety and security of workers and customers, especially children. The presence of CCTV can discourage unsafe behaviour and can provide protection from harassment, exploitation and abuse. People are less likely to engage in inappropriate behaviour when they know there is someone or something watching them. Generally, people feel an enhanced sense of safety where surveillance systems exist.
The collection of CCTV footage is regulated by law and we will comply with current and future legislation. At the time of writing this includes such things as:
- cameras will not record sound
- cameras will be clearly visible
- signs will be at any relevant entrances to notify people that they may be under surveillance
- no CCTV in any changing rooms or bathrooms
We have no control or obligations where CCTV is installed by the landlord on the outside of premises leased by us, for example, installed on the outside of the building or in the car park.
We trust you appreciate our use of CCTV is primarily for safety reasons.
It’s important to have adequate supervision of children at our sites, to keep children safe. Whether it’s kids swimming with us, poolside spectators, or older children waiting to be collected. It also contributes to creating a more calm, relaxing and enjoyable environment, for everyone. Our comprehensive policy is used for induction and ongoing training of our staff and includes such things as:
Children under 10 – a parent/carer must always be present poolside. The water can be a scary place for some children and sometimes instructions/guidance is required to be sought from you or someone who knows your child well. We also find that in these early years of learning to swim, it’s advantageous that you or someone close to your child are involved in their swim journey. To help keep them motivated, praise and congratulate them. Having you or someone else poolside also provides us with the opportunity to keep you up to date on your child’s progress. We find we get the best results when we work together in partnership with parents.
Children aged 10 & 11 – the parent/carer can leave the poolside/site whilst the lesson is taking place, if they feel their child can cope. However, they must be present at the beginning and end of the lesson, and responsible for getting their child changed. It gets busy during lesson changeover times and we can’t allow staff to be taken away from water safety duties by having to supervise individual children. We see these as the transitional years, where children are learning to become more and more independent as they near their high school journey. So whilst in the water, most are able to cope without having an adult poolside during the lesson.
Children aged 12 and above – no parent/carer is required poolside. Your child can be dropped off/collected or make their own way to/from the swim school. At this age, some kids are travelling to and from high school on their own. If we are aware that your child hasn’t been collected as planned, we’ll get them to wait in our reception area and we’ll contact you. If it’s not safe for them to travel home alone, we won’t let them. We’ll help to make other safe arrangements. We care about your child’s safety.
The person responsible for a child under the age of 12 must be at least 16 year’s old. For example a capable older sibling could take responsibility for their younger sibling.
Other children attending the site not having lessons, regardless of their age, must always be supervised and controlled by the parent/carer of the child taking part in the lesson.
Adult supervision will be required for any 12+ aged child who has special needs, or is unruly or immature. Don’t worry or feel embarrassed because we understand children can sometimes be challenging and can go through phases.
As further protection for children in our care, if our staff feel a parent/carer is not capable of being responsible for a child, we have the right to prevent the child taking the lesson. For example, the parent/carer may appear to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs. We will call the Police if there is an immediate risk to a child. And if staff have reasonable grounds that the incident might not be a “one off” our Child Protection & Mandatory Reporting Policy will be actioned. This rarely happens (if ever at any of our swim schools), but it shows what we are prepared to do to keep children safe.
When hiring staff we don’t just rely on paper qualifications. A large part of our recruitment criteria is assessing how skilled they are at being responsible for others. That they can protect a child’s mental and psychological wellbeing, help build their self-esteem, boost their confidence. Our swimming lessons are much more than just protecting your child’s physical safety.
We have policies and procedures in place, which we used to train staff on how best to screen and interview potential swim teachers.
It’s also an essential requirement that relevant staff have their Working with Children Check. As an additional step, we conduct at least two comprehensive reference checks for any new staff who will be closely working with children.
And it doesn’t stop once we’ve employed a new teacher. Newbies are closely supervised during a probationary period to ensure that they meet our high teaching standards.
It’s a great job and we are a great company to work for. We are always on the look out for great teachers. So if you’re interested, or know anyone who might be, head over to our Jobs page.