Child Protection Policy

The British and International Federation of Festivals for Music, Dance and Speech work for amateur festivals everywhere to help create thousands of educational performance opportunities for children and young people each year.

The Federation, and its member Festivals, are committed to ensuring safe environments for children and young people and believe that it is always unacceptable for a child or young person to experience abuse of any kind. We recognise our responsibility to safeguard the welfare of all children and young people, by a commitment to recommend best practice which protects them.

This policy applies to our Board of Trustees, paid staff, Adjudicator members, volunteers, students or anyone working on behalf of the Federation and its member Festivals.

We recognise that:

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

The purpose of the policy:

  • to provide protection for the children and young people who participate in our festivals, including the children of festival members
  • to provide staff and volunteers with guidance on procedures they should adopt in the event that they suspect a child or young person may be experiencing, or be at risk of, harm

We will seek to safeguard children and young people by:

  • valuing them, listening to and respecting them
  • adopting child protection guidelines through procedures and safe working practice for staff and volunteers
  • recruiting staff and volunteers safely, ensuring all necessary checks are made
  • sharing information about child protection and safe working practice with children, parents, staff and volunteers
  • sharing information about concerns with agencies who need to know, and involving parents and children appropriately
  • providing effective management for staff and volunteers through supervision, support and training.

The Federation will review this policy each year in November in line with Safe Network guidance or sooner in light of any changes in legislation or guidance. All changes will be communicated to our member Festivals in time for the start of the new Festival year.

Creating Safer Festivals for Everyone

The Federation and its member Festivals use the following policies and procedures to create Safer Festivals for everyone:

  1. A single, definitive Child Protection Policy adopted by all Federation Festivals.
  2. One or more designated Festival Safeguarding Officers (FSO) appointed for each Federation Festival: Mrs Anne Keast Phone: 01726 61444 / 07938823139 ([email protected])
  3. Best practice advice in the form of Safe Working Practice, Festival Child Protection leaflet, and any other guidance produced by the Federation. This advice is supported by support and training for all Festival staff and volunteers. Guidance includes clear reporting procedures for anyone with a concern about a child.
  4. Appropriate recruitment and induction procedures for all new Festival staff and volunteers responsible for providing safe environments for everyone attending/performing at a Federation Festival.
  5. All Festival personnel wear a badge to identify their roles.. All teachers/parents/guardians/carers are asked to report all incidents of any nature to anyone wearing a Festival badge. All reported incidents will be handled in accordance with the Safe Working Practice and Festival Child Protection best practice advice. In addition we will ensure the availability of a quiet area / room where concerns can be expressed in private.
  6. For the duration of a Festival all teachers/parents/
    guardians/carers are responsible for the continuous care and supervision of their own children/pupils. If they are unable to attend personally, they must delegate their responsibilities to an identified adult and ensure that their children/pupils are aware of the identity and name of the person responsible for their care. This includes supervision throughout all Festival venues, practice and changing areas that may be provided. The Festival cannot take responsibility for any property left unattended.
  7. We do not permit any unauthorised photography at our Federation Festivals. For further information on what is and is not authorised, please contact the Festival Safeguarding Officer or anyone wearing a Festival badge. If any child, young person or parent/carer is concerned about any photography or recording taking place at an event, please contact the Festival Safeguarding Officer, who will be pleased to discuss this matter with you.
  8. Some children and vulnerable adults may have specific needs in order to take part. If this is the case we ask the responsible teachers/parents/guardians/carers to contact the Festival Organisers prior to arrival. The Festival aims to meet these needs wherever possible, but must know beforehand in order to prepare support – or to advise that help cannot be provided on this occasion.
  9. The Festival’s Child Protection Policy and its approach to Creating Safer Festivals for Everyone are published explicitly in our Syllabus, Programme and Website. By completing and signing the entry form all parents / guardians / carers and teachers of entrants under 18 (or adults of any age who may require additional support) confirm that they give (or have obtained) the necessary consents for the competitors to take part in the Festival. Without consent the entry to the Festival cannot be accepted.

Caring for Vulnerable Adults at Our Festival

We are eager to welcome vulnerable adults to our Festival to perform, as audience, as volunteer helpers and as members of our committee.

Our venue, St John’s Methodist Church, is accessible to people who may have mobility issues. There are ramps at the entrance, there are no stairs in the spacious ground level area and toilet facilities have disabled access. At very busy times, please tell us if you cannot manage stairs to the gallery; we will ensure there is seating for you at ground level. If you are performing, the stage used for performances is accessible only by climbing several steps; however, we shall be pleased to organise performances at floor level if necessary. Please let us know when you enter, if you will need us to arrange this. Do let us know when you enter of anything else you of which think we should be aware.

Our festival officials will be wearing badges at all times, so please approach someone wearing a badge if you need assistance. For example, if you need to sit near the front because of hearing problems, do let us know. There will also be someone qualified in first aid present at all times if you should become unwell. If you would like to join us as a volunteer or committee member, please explain to us if you have any special requirements and we shall be pleased to arrange these.

If you feel that you have not been treated with consideration in any way, please speak to our General Secretary, Anne Keast, who is also our Safeguarding Officer, and she will do her best to remedy this. There is a private area where you can explain any problems to her.

If you have any concerns before attending the festival or after attending, Anne can be contacted at [email protected] or at 01726 61444 or 07938 823139. Please do not hesitate to get in touch