Child Protection Policy

This policy has been formed in consultation with the NSPCC.

The words ‘child, ‘children’ and ‘young people’ are used interchangeably to mean any person under 18 years old.

1 Policy statement

The Association of Teachers of Singing (AOTOS) believes that it is unacceptable for a child or young person to experience abuse of any kind and recognises its responsibility to safeguard all children and young people and to promote their welfare commitment to practice which protects them.

1.1 AOTOS recognises that:

  • the welfare of the child or young person is paramount
  • all children, regardless of age, disability, gender, racial heritage, belief, sexual orientation or identity, have the right to equal protection from all types of harm or abuse
  • working in partnership with children and young people, their parents and guardians, carers and other agencies is essential in promoting young people’s welfare.

1.2 The purpose of this policy is:

  • to provide a safe environment for the children and young people who are present at AOTOS conferences and events
  • to provide members with guidance on procedures they should adopt in the event that they suspect a child or young person in their professional care may be experiencing, or be at risk of, harm.

1.3 This policy applies to all members of AOTOS.

1.4 We will seek to safeguard children and young people by:

  • valuing, listening to and respecting them
  • adopting child protection guidelines through procedures and a Code of safe practice for members
  • recruiting any staff and volunteers safely and ensuring all necessary safety checks are made
  • sharing information about child protection with all visitors to AOTOS events, including parents and children
  • sharing information about concerns with agencies who need to know, and involving presenters, parents and children appropriately
  • providing effective support for less experienced teachers through supervision, support and training information.

1.5 We are also committed to reviewing our policy and good practice regularly.

2 The role of the management group or governing body

The role of the AOTOS Council is to devise policy and procedures and to advise members of good codes of practice and training opportunities.

3 Procedures for referral

AOTOS recognises that members are not responsible for determining whether or not a child is, or has been, a victim of abuse. AOTOS, therefore, recommends that any member who has cause for concern about a child’s safety contacts the NSPCC for advice (0808 800 5000), or the local authority children’s services where the child resides. Members working for educational establishments should contact the designated child protection officer for that organisation.

3.1 All action is taken in line with the guidance from the NSPCC, and following legislation and guidance (see the Code of safe practice).

3.2 Any AOTOS member who receives a disclosure of abuse or suspects that abuse may have occurred should seek immediate advice from:

  • the NSPCC
  • the local authority children’s services of the child concerned
  • if working within an educational establishment, the designated Child Protection Officer for that organisation.

3.3 Any telephone referral to the above should be confirmed in writing within a maximum of 48 hours; ideally within 24 hours. This written confirmation must be signed and dated by the referrer.

3.4 Confidentiality must be maintained and information relating to individual children, young people and families shared with others on a strictly need-to-know basis.

4 Alleged abuse by an AOTOS member

If an allegation is made to AOTOS against a member, then the allegation should be passed to the Chair of the Association, or, if at the Teacher Training Course, the Training Director. The officer contacted will record a note of the consultation and will advise on the appropriate action that needs to be taken.

4.1 If the allegation concerns the Chair then the allegation should be referred to the Past Chair, who will contact the NSPCC or the local authority children’s services of the child concerned.

5 Record keeping

Any AOTOS member who receives a disclosure of abuse, or notices possible abuse, should make an accurate record as soon as possible noting what was said or seen, putting the event into context, and giving the date, time and location. All records should be dated and signed.

5.1 All handwritten records should be retained, even if they are subsequently typed up in a more formal report.

5.2 Written records of concerns about children should be kept, even where there is no need to make a referral immediately.

5.3 All records relating to child protection concerns should be kept in a secure place and will remain confidential.

6 Availability of information

Information about child protection procedures will be available to members from the General Secretary of AOTOS.

7 Training

All AOTOS members are advised to seek out appropriate training on a regular basis.

8 Review

This policy will be reviewed on a regular basis. and updated where appropriate.

Signed:Signature of Penelope Price Jones

Penelope Price Jones, AOTOS Chairman

on behalf of the Association of Teachers of Singing March 2015

Code of Safe Practice

Guidelines for teachers working with under 18s in private studios and educational establishments

AOTOS members will always aim to build a safe and trusting relationship with their students, regardless of age, gender or ethnic origin.

Members will work together with parents and guardians to ensure that the student always feels safe from harm, valued and respected and never bullied or intimidated.

Members will ensure that any physical contact with children and young people during the course of their professional activities is always appropriate and that prior permission has been sought from the pupil, parent and guardian.

In the best interests of both teacher and student, it should be possible for a parent, guardian or colleague to be within sight or hearing during the lesson.

Teachers working within an educational establishment should operate within that organisation’s principles and guidance, follow any specific CPP procedures laid down by that organisation and familiarise themselves with the organisation’s CP representative.

Any email or text contact with under 18s should be copied to a parent or guardian.

Members will always report any allegations or suspicions of abuse of any kind to the appropriate authority.

Guidelines for AOTOS conferences and events

From time to time, children and young people may be required to demonstrate at AOTOS conferences and events.

AOTOS will always contact any visiting singer in the above category through the student’s teacher, who should expect to act in loco parentis for that child during the event. If the teacher is unavailable, the singer should bring another responsible adult to care for them.

Guidelines for AOTOS training courses

The AOTOS teacher training courses occasionally require under 18s to act as ‘pupils’ for student teachers. These are sessions with three people present: the pupil, the student teacher and the teaching mentor, who will be an experienced AOTOS teacher. Pupils will be asked for a maximum of three sessions.

The Training Director will always contact these pupils via their teachers, who will preferably be members of AOTOS, and will maintain regular contact with such teachers. Any email information to the child will be copied to the teacher and the parents.

Parents and singers will be informed of what to expect before the first session and encouraged to share their experiences throughout the week with their parents or guardians, the Training Director and their own teacher. The Training Director will be on hand to resolve any concerns and should be the first point of contact for all parties.

Recommendations

AOTOS recommends that members seek out regular training opportunities in child protection in order to recognise and challenge unacceptable behaviour and signs of abuse.

A copy of the Child Protection Policy Statement will be available to members at all AOTOS events and courses.

More information

Working together to safeguard children (2015): www.education.gov.uk

‘Keeping Children Safe in Music’ – a series of videos at youtube.com.

Search for child protection in education (music) at: