Wychert Vale Safeguarding Policy

  1. Working with Children and Young People

Each volunteer working with children or young people should be:

  • Given a copy of the appropriate good practice guides for church workers with children and young people.
  • Given a copy of this document.
  • Asked to complete a confidential declaration form.
  • Asked to provide references as required.
  • Required to complete an enhanced criminal records check with barring information for leaders.
  • Required to complete Diocesan Safeguarding Training at the appropriate level.
  • Given the names and contact details of the Parish Safeguarding Officer and the Children’s Advocate.
  1. Leadership and staffing
  • Always have at least two leaders, no matter how small the group. Small groups with single leaders may meet in adjoining rooms with an open door between. If a child or young person is being interviewed alone, have another adult nearby. If one leader is unable to attend at short notice, and a substitute cannot be obtained, it may nevertheless be safer to continue with the group rather than cancel it
  • Try to ensure the leaders’ genders reflect the group, i.e. endeavour to have at least one male leader if there are boys present, and at least one female leader if there are girls present
  • At least two leaders (preferably unrelated) need to be present from before the first child arrives until after the last child leaves. See Staffing ratios
  • No person under the age of 18 years should be left in charge of a group of children under 16, nor can they be counted in staffing ratios
  • Young people aged 16 and 17 years may help with groups but should be supervised by an adult leader, who is responsible for ensuring that good practice and the safeguarding children procedures are followed.
  • There is no provision for young people to complete work experience or community service with groups in the church. If such a request is made please contact the Parish Safeguarding Officer.
  • Parents, carers and helpers who are not regular leaders in the church can assist with occasional activities such as holiday workshops, but should always work under the supervision of two nominated and known leaders, and be responsible to an appointed leader
  • Ensure all leaders are aware of the health and safety issues relating to the activity, including procedures for fire and first aid and any special needs of any of the children

Staffing ratios

OFSTED prescribes minimum staff–child ratios for those groups which are required to register with it. For those groups not subject to registration the following ratios are advisory. There must always be a minimum of two leaders.

Child’s Age Number of Adults Number of Children
0-2 1 3
2-3 1 4
4-8 1 6
Over 8 1 12

Do not include parents or carers in ratios unless they have been formally recruited but they can work as helpers under the immediate supervision of a leader.

Although the age of 18 marks the legal division between adulthood and childhood, it may be appropriate to require a minimum three-year difference between the age of a young adult youth worker and the ages of the children he or she supervises.

These ratios are for guidance only, and it may be necessary to increase staffing, for example if children have special needs, a risk assessment has shown additional hazards or for other reasons.

Staffing ratios for offsite activities are covered in a separate policy.

  1. Record keeping in children’s activities
  • The Parish Safeguarding Officer must make and update annually a list of all paid staff and voluntary workers in the church who have regular, direct contact with children, and ensure that full recruitment procedures have been followed for each of them
  • Leaders must register every child or young person attending each specific activity with a form which includes their name, address, date of birth, contact number for their parent or carer and parental consent to the activity. Additional information such as health issues or additional needs should be recoded as appropriate. Store the forms together in a confidential and secure place and always have them available for leaders of the activity throughout each session
  • Leaders must keep an attendance register for each activity of every child and leader in attendance at each session
  • There must always be a phone available throughout each activity in case of emergencies; this may be a mobile phone
  • All confidential records about leaders, and confidential records relating to allegations of abuse, and specific concerns about children or young people, must be stored in a locked filing cabinet or password protected computer file with access limited to the Parish Safeguarding Officer, churchwardens and the Incumbent
  • Record all accidents in the Accident Book, which should always be accessible on the premises
  • Records must normally be retained for five years, but there may be special circumstances requiring longer retention.
    • Parental consents
    • Parental or carer consent is needed for any activity for their children at which they are not present. Often this will be implicit, for example through attendance at Sunday School or a youth club.
    • Written parental consents must be obtained for all activities off the premises. These must include contact details of the parent or carer, details of any special needs of the child, and permission as necessary for taking photographs of children. A parental consent form is available which can be customised as needed.
    • Activities where children are accompanied and supervised by their own parents or carers will not require separate consent.
    • Volunteers and staff should read and follow the Good Practice Guide for trips, holidays and residential trips when organising such an activity.
    1. Code of behaviour

    Volunteers should read and follow the Code of Behaviour contained within the Good Practice Guide for Work with Children and Young People.

    1. Transporting Children and Young People By Private Car

    Children & young people should not be transported in a private car without the prior consent of their parents/carers. This also applies to giving lifts to and from a church activity.

    All those who drive children on church-organised activities should follow the Guidelines in the Good Practice Guide for Work with Children and Young People.


    1. Health and Safety
    • Volunteers and staff should be familiar with and follow with the Health and Safety Procedures of the premises where meetings take place. Any concerns should be reported to Churchwardens of Parish Safeguarding Officer.
    • All leaders and volunteers should be aware of fire safety and evacuation procedures. A fire drill should be carried out regularly.
    • All accidents should be recorded in the accident book.
    • Written risk assessments should be made before taking children on activities outside the premises.


    1. Safeguarding
    • All new volunteers are required to follow the Wychert Vale Benefice Safer Recruitment procedures in line with Diocesan requirements.
    • All volunteers are required to have an Enhanced criminal records check, with Barring Information for leaders, for Wychert Vale Benefice or provide details of their Update Service information.
    • All volunteers and staff working with Children and Young People are required to complete Safeguarding Training to the appropriate level as required and provided by the Diocese of Oxford.
    • All volunteers and staff working with Children and Young People should read and follow the Guidance regarding Hearing a Child Abuse Disclosure in the Good Practice Guide for Work with Children and Young People.


    1. Communication with Young People
    • Communication should not usually take place with young people after 9.30pm or on staff members’ days off. Note this does not mean staff and volunteers have to be available to young people at all other times. Young people should also note that, whilst staff and volunteers will exercise appropriate discretion in dealing with the substance of communication, they cannot promise confidentiality.
    • Young people for this purpose are defined as those in school years 7 to 13 or equivalent. Where a young person reaches the age of 18 but remains in youth work provision it is good practice to adhere to this policy. Children in year 6 and below should not normally be communicated with by the church using social media or mobile phones.
    • Consents

    Parents and guardians will be given the option to consent to the following:

    • Photos to be taken by a designated photographer at youth events and then used in official church publications, the church’s Facebook group, the church website and displays. Bear in mind that traditional media, such as printed newspapers, expect to be able to use images they have been sent in their social media outlets as well, so parental consents must be obtained and refusals clearly communicated.


    • Young people to have email contact with staff and volunteers in accordance with this policy.


    • Young people to make and receive communication by mobile phone to and from staff and volunteers in accordance with this policy.


    • Young people to connect to their group’s Facebook page.


    • Volunteers and staff should use only the forms of social networking agreed for church purposes. This decision should be reviewed at least once a year.


    • Volunteers and staff should read and follow the Good Practice Guide for the use of Social Media and Private Messaging.


    1. Making and distributing images of Children and Young People

    Making and publishing images of children is usually enjoyed by children and parents and can bring useful publicity, but there are some important issues to note. The issues are the same for still photographs, digital images or films, and regardless of the particular technology used. For convenience they are all referred to as images.

    • It is important that the consent of the children and their parents is obtained for the making and use of images of children. Consent is not needed if children are in a public place such as in the open air or at a fair or similar event. A church is not a public place in this sense.
    • At church run events involving children and young people only approved photographers who have arranged attendance in advance and agreed to follow this policy and guidelines will be allowed. Parents will be allowed to photograph their own children
    • Images made legitimately according to this policy must be kept securely.
    • Volunteers and staff should read and follow the Good Practice Guide for the Making and Distributing of Images of Children and Young People.


    10.1 Images on the church website

    • The attention of children, young people and their parents will be drawn to the church website.
    • Surnames or contact details of any young people will not appear on the website. Written consent from parents will be obtained before photographs containing their child are posted on the website.
    • Any photos on the website will be group, not individual, photos.


    1. Additional needs

    Groups should welcome children and young people with Additional needs to the group wherever possible.

    • Try to make the premises, toilets and access suitable for people with disabilities. Ask the parent about how best to meet the child’s needs, and do not see this as the responsibility only of the child’s parent.
    • Volunteers should be supported by training when required.


    1. 12Other issues

     Please see the Diocesan Safeguarding Handbook for detailed guidance

    The Diocesan handbook can be found on

    Important telephone numbers:

     Statutory agencies etc

    Thames Valley Police (all non-emergency enquiries) 101
    Local Council Children’s Social Care 01296 383962
    Stoke Mandeville Hospital 01296 315000
    Childline 0800 1111

The website for the parishes of Aston Sandford, Cuddington, Dinton and Stone, Haddenham and Kingsey